Dragged from prayer on a trumped up charge
All the priests condemn Jesus for his claim
Then put him before Pilate who finds no blame.
His wife sends her maid with warning
Before truth to Pilate started dawning.
Jesus points out authority comes from above
Not music to the ears of priests lacking love
Who out of enmity want him killed
Heedless of those he cured and storms he stilled.
Thus a terrorist is set at large, abjured
After betrayal in Gethsemane willingly lured.
Fundamentalism will reduce all to dust.
Hands washed to prove innocence and disgust
Letting perverted justice prove priests’ verdict unjust.
Jesus condemned is led away
Weakened by mocking, appearance shocking.
Soldiers compel a passer-by to carry
His cross to Golgotha where nailed
He’ll hang until dead, cruelly impaled.
Simon of Cyrene rises to the task
Not the sort of occurrence soldiers ask
Others politely to do. Coercion is their way
With kicks and curses; it’s their lot today.
The lowest denominator leads to bestial
Behaviour where life is forfeit, trumping fair trial
When the Word uttered no word.
To those who followed it seemed absurd
No defence made, no support heard.
Without the city wall mothers gather watching,
Considered unclean this group their toddlers raise:
The next generation while the world spins on.
Addressed by Jesus “Daughters of Jerusalem”
He bids them weep for themselves, not him,
Their children, and dark days ahead.
Injustice is beyond their power to relieve
Yet gives birth to a faith where they believe
That salvation is for the soul not ritual,
Temple and rigid observance of the virtual
Where God is lost in petty laws and rules.
Tithe the heart to pay your dues, forgive
Those trespassing your personal space
Making room for the workings of God’s grace.
Ignorant of the implication of their actions
Roman soldiers nail Jesus to the cross.
Triumphant Pharisees gloat and mock.
Exonerated Pilate who found no crime,
Washes his hands of responsibility.
A Jewish problem for Jews to sort
Victim of abuse and public sport.
Jesus’ forgiveness highlights their ignorance
Of what scriptures outlined, prophets foretold.
God’s purpose works despite men’s machinations.
The Cross is Genesis tree, his death is life for all
Enabling discernment between good and evil, not fall.
The cruelty of man is strange contrast
To the love of God that everything will outlast.
To your mortal end you still caused strife.
Confessing just desserts the guilty thief
Found a saviour alongside promising eternal relief.
T’other thief challenged Christ demanding life
While on the ground chief priests disputed
Over Pilate’s triple notice stating
This innocent man in the middle was reputed
The King of the Jews, so past debating.
Barabbas the terrorist was released
The crowd conned by confusion of his name -
As Son of the Father it seemed the same -
Claiming familiarity with God never ceased.
The cross raised endless more controversy
‘Mongst disbelievers showing no mercy.
‘Truly this was the Son of God’ first
The Centurion, convinced witness, claimed.
Had God deserted the Divine at the last?
Was all in vain? The human exclaimed “I thirst.”
‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Shamed,
Suggestive of passing doubt in divine purpose?
While soldiers fulfilled scripture of old,
Lots for the victim’s clothes are cast,
Step by step we see his life unfold.
The Psalms come to gruesome life stage
By stage on the stage of Golgotha’s scull.
Man’s angst is at a scapegoat aimed.
The seamless garment’s winner we’ll never know
Though other winners the cross does show.
Like the three graces with their chaperone
Stand silent the Three Marys and Salome,
Supportive women and sorrowing Mother
Of whom he is mindful to hand to another.
Unable to intervene, just watch and pray
While Jesus’ life, agony riven, ebbs away;
A lonely vigil these four must keep.
This medium of the Saviour’s birth
Replaced the figure of Mother Earth.
Perhaps the Magdalen with her ability
Epitomises the Word’s fertility
And revelations of truths so deep.
Literally on the Word they wait
While Jesus is obedient to his fate.
Thomas overcame his doubts, pragmatic to the last.
While needing proof he remained aloof
Being privileged to witness Jesus in the flesh.
Others at Emmaus recognised,
Bemused by the truths of scripture,
The familiar breaking of bread,
When the light dawned and all fell into place.
A fleeting encounter proved death’s grip
Couldn’t hold the real risen presence.
Revelation came in an upper room
Before giving trusted friends the slip.
The shared reality of Good News
Gave them hope and reasons for belief.
That all wasn’t in vain dispelled their grief.
All sonnets on this page are (c) Toddy Hoare 2020
Reproduced here by kind permission of the author.