“Good Friday” by Christina Rossetti speaks to me this Holy Week. Written in 1862 and now in the public domain, this poem is a devotional, self-reflective piece.
“Am I a stone?” she asks–and I think of the heart of stone turned hard by compassion fatigue and so unmoved by suffering.
“Am I a sheep,” I echo–following the good Shepherd of my soul?
And how might any of us be transformed from stone to sheep except by the work of God who never gives up on us?
Yesterday in my Palm Sunday sermon on Luke 19:29-40, I noted how the crowds welcomed Jesus into the city of Jerusalem with shouts of praise:
Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!
When some of the Pharisees complained to Jesus and told him to stop his disciples from crying out, Jesus replied:
I tell you,
if these were silent,
the stones would shout out.
Maybe a stone is not so unfeeling after all.
Read Christina Rossetti’s poem and decide for yourself.
by Christina Rossetti
Am I a stone and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in the starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon —
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more,
And smite a rock.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What Scripture texts, poems, and songs enrich your experience of Holy Week this year?
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