The Weight of Words: Poetry for Holy Week

As we journey together towards Easter, may these words prompt reflection and lend deeper meaning to your experience of Holy Week.

Mary Oliver

The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.

Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows it never sleeps.

Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did,
maybe the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn't move,
maybe the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
blue pavement, lay still and waited, wild awake.

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.


"Loss is Indeed Our Gain"
Walter Brueggemann

The Pushing and Shoving in the world is endless.
      We are pushed and shoved.
      And we do our share of pushing and shoving
           in our great anxiety.
      And in the middle of that
           you have set down your beloved suffering son
           who was like a sheep led to slaughter
           who opened not his mouth.
      We seem not able,
      so we ask you to create space in our life
      where we may ponder his suffering
      and your summons for us to suffer with him,
      suspecting that suffering is the only way to newness.
So we pray for your church in these Lenten days,
      when we are driven to denial —
           not to notice the suffering,
           not to engage it,
           not to acknowledge it.
So be that way of truth among us
       that we should not deceive ourselves.
That we shall see that loss is indeed our gain.
We give you thanks for that mystery from which we live.


"Be Still and Wait"
Emily Gibson

This in-between day
after all had gone so wrong
before all will go so right,
puts us between the rock
and the hard place:
all hope, love and faith is squeezed from us.

Today we are flattened,
dried like chaff,
ground to pulp,
our destiny with death sealed.

We lie still
like sprinkled spices
trying to delay
inevitable decay,
wrapped up tight
stone cold
and futile.
The rock is rolled into place
so we lie underneath,
crushed and broken.
We are inside,
our bodies like His.
We are outside,
cut off and left behind.
We cannot know about tomorrow,
we do not fathom what is soon to come:
the stone lifted and rolled away,
the separation bridged,
the darkness giving way to light,
the crushed and broken rising to dance,
and the waiting stillness stirring, inexplicably,
to celebrate new life.