As Easter approaches this year, I am both saddened and joyous at the ending of another 40 days of intentions aimed at deepening my understanding of this person, this Son who chose to live as we live:
To be born as a defenseless baby,
To “learn obedience” as we learn obedience,
To suffer loss, heartbreak, indignity as do we,
To constrain the Power that caused his persecuters to fall down at hearing His “I AM WHO AM” in the garden.
I’m saddened because these oceans of Grace that I can only dimly grasp and which have been raining down on our darkened souls, our tarnished and ignoble nations, are ending.
And I am saddened because there were changes in me that I intended to make and either have done only partially or not at all.
But the sense of joyousness I feel is uniquely portrayed by this stained glass window of the risen Christ which is placed at the apex of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas.
This Jesus- this perfect image of the man-God conjures up a man God I met in a poem known as The Dream of the Rood. This is an Anglo-Saxon poem written somewhere before the 9th century. And so this culture was a warring one; in that respect very similar to our own.
But in that long ago time, the fighting, the bleeding and the dying were done face to face, following leaders who demonstrated heroism and sacrifice to their followers, unlike our own, where the leaders view the deaths as collateral damage on sanitized reports and through satellite images.
This anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet describes the Christ pictured here on this window facing downtown Houston.
Speaking as the tree upon which Christ is nailed, the tree speaks of Christ not in the terms we have grown so accustomed to, as wounded, bleeding, tortured but as a warrior, as a hero as striding with great courage to mount the tree-the cross.
On shoulders men bore me there, then fixed me on hill;
fiends enough fastened me. Then saw I mankind’s Lord
come with great courage when he would mount on me.
Then dared I not against the Lord’s word
bend or break, when I saw earth’s
fields shake. All fiends
I could have felled, but I stood fast.
The young hero stripped himself–he, God Almighty–
strong and stout-minded. He mounted high gallows,
bold before many, when he would loose mankind.
I shook when that Man clasped me.