The Disappeared (La Dictadura, Argentina, 1976 – 1983) – for Good Friday

They’re rolling bodies from the soiled airplane,
they’ll hose the cargo hold when all are gone.
Did they cry ‘Our Father’ before were slain
not by the sea but by all who looked on?

Truth: so hard to hear that we dismiss it.
With Pontius, hands are washed in hypocrisy.
Not us, in crimes in our name complicit,
We choose systemic evil not to see.

We leave to Jesus burden of the cost,
to carry the pain, to accept the blame.
We roll him out and dump him with the lost:
For this he was born, and for this he came.

Look on, he becomes our mocking mass song.
Onlookers, felons – we compose the throng.

  • Lamentations 3:63
  • John 18:37
  • Ted Witham, Good Friday 2017
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‘Jesus Falls for a Second Time,’ Stations of the Cross in the Church of Notre Dame des Champs, Normandy, France. Image courtesy Paul Davis http://www.pbase.com/spdavis/stations_of_the_cross

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The Snake’s Sin

Snake Sin

The snake, in his tempting, makes us confused,
What is the sin, what punishment to come?
Is it pride, or wisdom or God’s traits to be used
that we deeply desire with our heart’s sum?

The snake, in his tempting, is skilled at misleading,
Look here, I’m a snake! Flabby sin at that address!
Is it sex, is it shame, is it clothes now receding?
Our focus is blurred by cold thoughtlessness.

The snake, in his tempting, makes our souls judder,
Shining skin in its blackness pretends to go deep:
Is it fear, is it self’s fickle flutter
that we dunk our souls in ourselves to steep?

Banish this snake, his crooked advance and sick ways,
Place God at the heart of our loupes’ precious gaze.

  • Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-6
  • Luke 4:1-13
  • (Lent 1, Year B Lectionary)
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Jewellers’ loupe Photo: Courtesy mazaldiamond.com