holy saturday: peter’s wife.

I’m worried about him.

John told me what happened the other night–
the curses, the denial, the rooster.
It’s enough to break anyone’s heart.

O LORD, God of my salvation,
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!

He’s grieving–we are all grieving–
but his grief carries the extra weight of
his shame and guilt, one that no lamb or goat
could wipe out. God knows that he tried that;
he came back yesterday covered in blood
and the smell of incense.

Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.

And my grief is compounded by his, because
I am his wife and I love him, and I don’t know
anything I can do except be here and wait and
be worried. And we are all afraid, not
only because they might come for us next,
but also because we have no idea where God is
right now. Our teacher, our master, our friend
is dead, but more than that: Our would-be
liberator is dead.

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.

Some of the women are talking about
going to anoint his body tomorrow morning.
I think I’ll go with them; it’ll be something to do
to distract myself from all this sadness.
And then we all have to figure out what to do
from there. We might go back to Galilee,
go back to being a fisherman and a fisherman’s wife,
see if we can get back our boat from Zebedee,
live a quiet life, shake the authorities off of our backs.

God of our fathers and mothers,
where are you now?

Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave?

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good friday: joseph of arimathea.

I’m sorry: We had to hurry because the sun
was about to set and start the sabbath, and
so you didn’t get entirely properly buried.
We just wrapped your body up in some cloths
with some aloe and spices and got you into
the tomb so we wouldn’t be breaking the law.
We are men of standing, Nicodemus and I;
even in our grief we have to keep decorum.

Teacher, I am sorry that I couldn’t do more
to keep you from this fate. I said too little
too late, and now just on the other side of this
stone is your poor body, your skin
in shreds and your hands and feet broken by
Roman nails. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more than this.
Is there still forgiveness for me?
Not that there is an answer for me now.

I suppose I will have to wait until the day
the Messiah comes and raises us all from the dead
to find out.

Until then, we rest.

maundy thursday: judas (not iscariot)

I don’t really say much.
Peter, and sometimes James and John,
they’re the talkers.
Matthew will write something down
every once in a while.
Me, I’m mostly just confused.
Jesus teaches in riddles sometimes
and I don’t even know what to ask him
so I can understand.

But tonight, after dinner, I get the courage
to ask a question: How are you going
to reveal yourself to us and not everyone else?
I don’t get it.

And he says: If you love me,
you’ll keep my word,
and my Father will love you,
and we’ll come
and make our home with you.

I don’t totally get that,
but I do get this:
Even though I’m bad at understanding or
at keeping the rules,
I understand that Jesus loves me,
and so I love him, too.

holy wednesday: the teacher of the law

I keep circling back to those two words:
“Not far.” Not far–not “in” the kingdom,
But close enough that there is, perhaps,
Some hope for me as far as you are concerned,
Teacher.

The first is a command that we have turned
Into a prayer: That we would love our God
By hearing and doing with all our humanity,
And the second is similar, that we would love
Our neighbor. I heard that you teach that
Everyone is our neighbor, even the people
We hate: The Romans, the Samaritans, and so on.

I do wonder, and this is maybe this is one
Step closer to the gates: What happens when
We don’t do that? There are lambs and doves
And bulls and goats bleeding dry every day at
The temple a few blocks away, but what if
That’s not enough?

Teacher, is that it?
What sacrifice could cover over our sin
If those are not enough?

holy tuesday: nicodemus.

I stand aside and watch my colleagues ask you questions,
Which are in actuality excuses to try to make you look foolish
Or heretical or treasonous. I have tried in the past to
Defend you to them, though ineffectually, even while I’m still
Trying to puzzle out what you told me that night several years ago.

I heard you talking to the Greeks earlier, too–was that
A kindness to them or a provocation toward us? Or maybe it was both;
I wonder at the implications of that. I heard you say that
A seed must die before it sprouts and multiplies, much like
You told me once that a man must be born again. Does that rebirth
Require death, too? And if so, what does that mean for me,
Still trying to decide whether I believe or not?

Are you asking me to come and die for your cause, rabbi?
Or are you offering some other kind of life instead?
Maybe it is both; I wonder at the implications of that.

holy monday: thomas.

This is the part, I think,
Where I confess that I have no idea
What’s going on–
You parade in to the city like a king,
Like a messiah, if I may put a point on it,
And this morning you put a curse on that
Tree, and then you stormed into the temple,
Almost like you were trying to get
On the bigwigs’ bad side on purpose–

Look. I know what I said on the way to
Bethany, about coming to die with you,
And, Lord, I’m pretty ready to do that. I think.
And all I know is that I used to feel like that
Fig tree, and you’ve reversed the curse on me,
And I am in some ways sprouting and growing
Where I once was withered.
But what do you know that we don’t,
That you are so intent on getting cursed yourself?

palm sunday: joanna, wife of chuza.

i left the courts of a king
all to leave and follow you
because with you i found a house
of help and healing
the Son of man has no place to lay his head
but i could at least make my home with you
and make sure all the family
had a little food and warmth at night

and now you come in on a borrowed donkey
into royal david’s city, and the gates
have lifted up their heads to let you in
King of glory, king of Israel
take up your place
one day in your courts is better than thousands elsewhere

(but why, my Lord
would i see you weep
even as you ascend
to your throne)