Years ago, during Holy Week, I came across in the Comics Section of The Washington Post the rhyme re-printed here,* by Johnny Hart for his B.C. strip:
“The Suffering Prince”
Picture yourself tied to a tree,
condemned of the sins of eternity.
Then picture a spear parting the air,
seeking your heart to end your despair.
When suddenly a knight in armor of white
steps into the gap betwixt you and its flight.
And shedding his ‘armor of God’ for you,
bears the lance that runs him through.
His heart has been pierced that yours may beat,
and the blood from his corpse washes your feet.
Picture yourself in raiment white,
cleansed by the blood of the lifeless knight.
Never to mourn the prince who was downed;
for he is not lost, it is you who are found.
I appreciate this rhyme still for its down-to-earth, post-Resurrection portrayal of the sacred event of Good Friday; and especially for motivating authentic gladness, begetter of gratitude, for God and God’s life-instead-of-death promise of Easter in God’s Christ-in-Jesus.
While Lent is preparatory for Easter, Lent’s focus is, I would say, the Cross at Golgotha. And with this, God’s unwavering invitation for all, in salvation of being found—that is, acceptable, worthy of trust, deeply loved—to share in God’s just-truth of generous love. Without the Cross of Good Friday freely accepted and lovingly lived in immediacy, as Baptism starkly celebrates, there is no Easter life of substance that I can see. True, following in-Christ the Cross of Christ for Christ to witness of Christ’s Self in the challenges of a broken, often-hostile world doesn’t seem to come naturally or easily, or without cost that sometimes is very great. Take, for example, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. As striving, Cross-of-Christ followers, all the more reason to be beggars of God’s mercy and grace—which may well be Lent’s most productive outcome. Even with this though, the persisting core question might be, Whose life is one’s life, perhaps especially as part of community, really about?
Lord of All: In your Mystery ever help us trust by heart the grace of your life-giving love offered in Christ Crucified; that we, as well as we can, dare love in-Christ with you in the unreserved way of Good Friday; and at the same time through your Spirit be in-act the glad, gracious song of Easter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* By permission of John L. Hart FL and Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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