Peace Be With You: Doubting Thomas

Behold, the blemished Lamb of God, and scarred
with unhealed woundings of the nails and spear,
Thomas seeks to know what it was that marred
pure God to now mutilated appear.

Thomas had seen his rising power before,
No question that God could raise the son of Nain,
But why upend complete Prophets and Law
and accept a sacrifice of bloody stain?

And then he saw altar priests cutting throats
and the violent contest of sacred police,
then the deep purpose of the Bible’s quotes:
to bring violence to an end with world’s peace.

The end of religion flashed before Thomas:
in faith and love alone the godly promise.

  • John 20:24-31
  • Luke 7:11-17

NBC News photo


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

‘Jesus Falls for a Second Time,’ Stations of the Cross in the Church of Notre Dame des Champs, Normandy, France. Image courtesy Paul Davis

Donny and Assad

Sonnet for Palm Sunday

Hey, Donny, why did you hit sayyeed Assad?
It’s true, he did a smelly piss in his sand;
but now you’ve deployed your savage trump card,
do you think he will just do what you demand?

You hit him and why will he be gentle?
You hit him and he may stop and reflect;
Then plan renewed violence incremental,
And let his vengeful anger flow unchecked.

In one brutal act of reciprocation,
He will throw all his foul power against you and yours,
Only one possible direction – escalation,
Settling in one blow years of niggling scores.

Lord, your people with their targeting hate,
what can we work out before it’s too late?

  • Palm Sunday 2017

Anti-war March, Melbourne, 1970. Image: Australian War Museum