The Stations for Holy Week: I-III

I have recently completed a sequence of sonnets on the stations of the cross, which I will post here in small groups on each day of Holy Week starting today and concluding on Holy Saturday, please feel free to make use of them in your own devotions or in your church’s liturgy. The Images are taken from a set of stations of the cross in St. Alban’s church Oxford. I have also read the sonnets onto audioboo, so you can click on the ‘play’ button or on the title of each poem to hear it.

Stations


I Jesus is condemned to death

The very air that Pilate breathes, the voice

With which he speaks in judgment, all his powers

Of perception and discrimination, choice,

Decision, all his years, his days and hours,

His consciousness of self, his every sense,

Are given by this prisoner, freely given.

The man who stands there making no defence,

Is God. His hands are tied, His heart is open.

And he bears Pilate’s heart in his and feels

That crushing weight of wasted life. He lifts

It up in silent love. He lifts and heals.

He gives himself again with all his gifts

Into our hands. As Pilate turns away

A door swings open. This is judgment day.


II Jesus is given his cross

He gives himself again with all his gifts

And now we give him something in return.

He gave the earth that bears, the air that lifts,

Water to cleanse and cool, fire to burn,

And from these elements he forged the iron,

From strands of life he wove the growing wood,

He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion

He saw it all and saw that it is good.

We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,

We took the axe and laid it to the tree,

We made a cross of all that he has made,

And laid it on the one who made us free.

Now he receives again and lifts on high

The gifts he gave and we have turned awry.


III Jesus falls the first time

He made the stones that pave the roads of Zion

And well he knows the path we make him tread

He met the devil as a roaring lion

And still refused to turn these stones to bread,

Choosing instead, as Love will always choose,

This darker path into the heart of pain.

And now he falls upon the stones that bruise

The flesh, that break and scrape the tender skin.

He and the earth he made were never closer,

Divinity and dust come face to face.

We flinch back from his via dolorosa,

He sets his face like flint and takes our place,

Staggers beneath the black weight of us all

And falls with us that he might break our fall.

19 Comments

Filed under imagination, literature, Meditation

19 responses to “The Stations for Holy Week: I-III

  1. Thank you for these powerful and beautiful words.
    Namaste

  2. malcolmguite

    Thanks Carolyn, I shall post the other sonnets over the course of Holy Week
    Pax et Bonum
    M

  3. Suresh

    Wonderful, all three!

    I think my favourite lines upon the first reading must be from the second, ‘Jesus is given his cross’:

    “We took his iron to edge an axe’s blade,

    We took the axe and laid it to the tree,

    We made a cross of all that he has made,

    And laid it on the one who made us free.”

  4. malcolmguite

    Thanks Suresh, glad you connected up with these, and hope your own writing is going well M

  5. Lynn Severance

    Malcolm, I have begun my Holy Week meditations with these deep and throught provking words you convey.
    I am blessed as I walk with them and with Him.
    Thank you.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Lynn, they are the fruit of my ‘pre-holy week retreat’ at St. Deiniols in Wales. I’m very happy to share them here

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  10. sokhn-treuille véronique

    thanks for these beautiful poems and drawings on this holy week,
    vst

  11. Acetate monkey

    Thanks for these sonnets malcolm. I found your page via Maggi Dawn. Yet another great experience she has introduced me to via her blog.

    I’ve never really ‘got’ poetry and don’t at all know or understand the language of it, so your wonderful poems have enriched me on multiple levels- content, style and improving my humanities education beyond a rather half-hearted engagement at GCSE level 22 years ago!
    I shall now go and add you to my favourite bookmark. Thanks!

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