HOW WOULD I KNOW?

Dieric Bouts (c. 1420–75), “Christ Crowned with Thorns”
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The sun knits in and out of rain
As joyfulness combined with pain
To make the garment that we wear
The goodness and distress of prayer

Someone asked me to explain
Why Jesus in His throes of pain
Asked: “Why have You forsaken Me?”
Of God His Father, fearfully

And I replied as best I could:
His torture was a gift, He would
Not sacrifice unless to feel
As you and I might—death as real

Abandonment and emptiness
Human horror and no less
But God as well He died to give
That suffering so we might live

How can this be?—how would I know
As only half and that below?


 

PORTRAIT OF TWO

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), “Saint Luke as a Painter before Christ on the Cross”
Museo del Prado
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Zurbarán portrays the Crucified
Who sacrificed Himself for us and died
And he, the painter, gazing with his pallet
At Christ whose hands were nailed in with a mallet

Wondering at that which should not be
God affixed to such an obscene tree,
No leaves, no roots, no life within the wood
The painter saw the Lord and understood

That even the Creator suffers, He
Sacrifices love for such as we—
Here is what replies to such a love
An artist contemplating One above

In the face expression of love’s wonder—
The Crucified, and Zurbarán stands under