A single cross standing on a dark plain, silhouetted on a blue and purple sunset, with the words: Father, forgive (two poems inspired by Jesus's words on the cross) Faith in Grey Places

Father, forgive (two poems inspired by Jesus’s words on the cross)

Two short poems this week, both reflecting on a prayer Jesus made whilst he was on the cross on Good Friday: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” 

It’s recorded in Luke 23:33-35, though some manuscripts don’t include it. Curiously, the NET footnotes say that “even those who regard the verse as inauthentic literarily often consider it to be authentic historically.”

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Close up picture of a rich woman in a large ornate room, sitting on a red and gold couch, wearing a tiara, looking out towards the light with a concerned look on her face. Has the text: His blood and his body, a poem reflecting on when Pilate washed his hands

His blood and his body (a poem reflecting on when Pilate washed his hands)

Last week I wrote that I’ve written these poems starting from a blank slate, meaning the end result often surprises me. Again, this one surprised me.

Also, I hope you like Shakespeare.

I wanted to reflect on Pilate’s agency, especially how on Good Friday he tried to wash his hands in public and absolve himself from the guilt of Jesus’s death. The account is in Matthew 27:11-26, Mark 15:1-15, Luke 23:1-25 and John 18:28-19:16.

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Sunset over the sea with small waves crashing close to the camera. Text over the top: The Longest Sabbath - A poem reflecting on Jesus's prayer: "Not my will but yours." Faith in Grey Places

The Longest Sabbath (a poem reflecting on Jesus’s prayer: “Not my will but yours”)

I’ve written these poems starting from a blank slate, meaning the end result often surprises me. This one… this one really surprised me. In short, I started out wanting to write about Maundy Thursday, but ended up writing something peaceful set on Holy Saturday. I also cried a lot while I was writing it (but in a good way, I think?) 

I wanted to reflect on Jesus’s agency and will, when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion. He was so overwhelmed with sorrow, knowing what was about to happen, that he asked God (the Father) if it was possible for him not to suffer. But, having prayed this, also prayed that the Father’s will be done, not his own.

The account is in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46.

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Profile picture of a young donkey with the text over the top: My neighbour's colt, a poem inspired by Jesus's entry into Jerusalem. Faith in Grey Places

My neighbour’s colt – a poem inspired by Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem

In this poem I wanted explore the idea of following orders in the context of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, a week before his crucifixion.

When systemic injustice is uncovered, you often hear this point raised: can the rank and file be blamed for complying with unethical instructions from their commanding officers?

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Neutral choice (a poem inspired by Mary of Bethany when she anointed Jesus with spikenard)

For lent and Easter 2021, I’m writing a series of poems, each exploring the theme of agency through the lens of stories from Jesus’s passion. This first one is inspired by Mary of Bethany when she poured a pint of spikenard over Jesus’s head.

Actually, the gospel accounts vary. 

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Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 6: Fragrance

I once took some spikenard to church. 

The oil had lost much of its pungency in the 10 years since I had bought it. And I only had a 5ml bottle. But it was still plenty strong enough. 

It was two weeks before Easter, Passion Sunday. And by “passion,” I mean “suffering” – because that’s what the word originally meant in Latin. That Sunday, and the two weeks that follow it, are when the church remembers Jesus’s suffering and his death on Good Friday. 

The Bible reading was about a woman called Mary (not Jesus’s mother). She had a pint – note: a pint – of spikenard and poured it over Jesus’s feet (John 12:1-8). People criticised her saying it was a waste of a year’s worth of wages. But Jesus defended her; he said she was preparing him for his burial. 

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