Saturday, March 31, 2007

You Still Chose to Go (version 2) 

It was no clean thing, this --
no easy walk into that dark night,
no staged and calm event
filled with memorable sound bites
and photo op moments,
soldiers in their dress uniforms
and dignitaries in their solemn regalia.

No clean thing, this --
filled instead with the sweat of pain
and the taste of blood,
the dust of the road,
the tears of grief,
the reality of betrayal,
the weight of sin.

No calm thing, this,
filled instead with noise:
the noise of mockery, bitter and undeserved,
punctuated with spittle and blows.
the noise of pain:
the slap of the flagellum against bare skin,
the sound of hammers driving spikes into wood
through human flesh,
cries ripped unbidden from the depths of the gut,
as flesh protested the hot sudden agony
that would not go away.
The noise of expediency: "Crucify him yourselves."

No easy walk this,
rushed through the crowded streets
beneath a crushing weight,
stripped of everything that matters most to man,
standing naked in the light of day
bruised and bloody and battered,
with nothing left to give
except the acceptance of pain,
except the final acts of love,

Help me see, O Jesus,
beyond the pretty pictures
and sound bites
and images
to the reality of how God descended to death,
the dirty, miserable realness of it,
of man's willingness to be inhuman,
and you did this knowing how dark we can be,
and how unloving we can be,
and how we cling to the dark in spite of your light,
and you still chose to go.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

Labels: ,

Friday, March 30, 2007


Heavy and dark,
The hard wheat of our lives,
Comes to life with your spark,
O Lord, the leaven that thrives
In the hearts of those who trust in you.

Lifting us up,
Your love is like leaven
A drink from the cup
Of the wonders of heaven
Letting the light of God in.

Like leaven makes light
the heavy hard wheat
May we in your sight
Make all lives more sweet
Through the touch of your love.

May each word that we say,
Each action we do
Reflect your loving way,
Bring the light down from you
To shine in the night.

Susan E. Stone, 2007


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Prayer For Victims 

Let us pray this day, this moment for all those victims of injustice and rage,
those chosen as easy targets by weakness, poorness, age
Injured through life by those who chose selfishness and lust and greed,
Indifference, revenge, selfrighteousness and all the other seed
We use to harm each other.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray, O Lord,
For all those babies conceived, never to see the day,
for all those killed through violence because they were in the way
for all those touched by terrorism, exploding in the night
for all those harmed by their loved ones, their pain in open sight
for all those marred by war, and the chains of hate it breeds,
for all those who die marked by our indiference as we ignore their needs,

Lord hear our prayer.

Forgive us, O Lord,
For all those times when we did the deed,
Turning our backs on someone we knew was in need,
For all those times when we were hurried, late, or busy
And pretended as we walked on that we just didn't see
For all the times we let injustice pass us by without a sound,
Knowing some other spokesperson was sure to be found,
For all those times we didn't think to share,
Deceiving ourselves, perhaps, because we didn't really care.
Forgive us for all those times we said the word we knew would hurt,
Wanting to see our enemy wallowing in the dirt.
For all those times we didn't write the letter, pay a visit, make the call,
for all those times we had to be right even if it meant hurting one and all.
Forgive us, Lord, for those we've touched by our own wrongdoing,
when we could have been the tool of your choosing.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, teach us this day to see the need, to feel our brother's pain,
To see with eyes touched by not by dark, but with your light again,
To know that in our brother's ills, you touch our hearts with light
By letting us care for you by caring for his plight.
Forgive us, Lord our hardness, and take our hearts of stone,
And give us hearts that know your love and that you keep as your own.


Susan E. Stone, 2007

Labels: ,

Forgive Us 

Forgive us our hubris, O Lord,
Our pride in our own strength and guile,
our cold-hearted lack of humility,
Our casting your image in our own personal style,
As we preen proudly at all our ability,
And look at the world and gleefully smile
Forgive us our high-handed facility
thinking how much better we are than our brothers.

Forgive us of our selfishness, O Lord
our eyes that see how deep the need,
the grief and the pain of those who share this place,
But we go shopping for fun while our brothers bleed,
So busy to get into the next fad and race
To show how cool we are and explain away our greed
by focusing on the unworthiness of the needy.

Forgive us our coldheartedness, O Lord,
When we hear the story of how you died,
How you took our stripes and bore our sin -
As the earth quaked and your mother cried.
And though your death amazed the hardened centurion
We sit there unmoved, bored, dried eyed
And ungratefully trying to ignore the reality.

Soften our hearts, O Lord, I pray
Open our eyes this very day.


Susan E. Stone, 2007

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Step by Step 

Step by painful step You chose the way
from Gethsemane's dark shadows
To Golgotha's bleak hard day,
You the eternal Passover offering
Your blood stained cross the door
To save those who would shelter there,
God With Us ever more.

O Lord, you bore upon your shoulders
the blood guilt of all our sin,
the stain of each and every wrong
destroying us within,
You, perfect in your innocence,
freely bearing all our night
redeeming us by your hard death
to robe us in your light.

Stripe by stripe, and nail by nail
Blood drop by drop, you gave it all,
Hot and gasping breath by breath
Answering the Father's call.
until carrying your burden down
into the halls of death,
you gave birth to hope where hope was not,
And gave our life new breath.

Susan E. Stone, 2007


Monday, March 26, 2007

The Price 

Dear Jesus, bring to mind often that sad, holy, day
When You changed the world for sinners like me
As You carried that horrendous burden of sin all the way
On Your sinless, torn and battered back to set us free.
The unrighteousness of others rested upon Your head
On You, the Son of righteousness, the Father's gift from above,
The dark sin of mankind wanted You dead
To put out your light,You who are all love.
And yet, by carrying all that darkness to the grave
You opened that path that would reach out and save.

O Lord, my light and my hope, let me think of the crowd,
And know it was my sins joining the cry
Of angry men in the courtyard screaming so loud
Demanding the cross, that You had to die.
Let me think of the whip slapping hard as it flails --
How my sin was there in the stripes that it left,
Let me know that my hand hammered the nails,
My sins caused pain for your Mother, bereft.
Through all the times I have chosen sin over right,
I was there with the crowd there to darken your light.

O Lord my salvation, all the days of my life
Let me never take for granted the gift that you give,
the pain and the sorrow, the mocking, the strife
that you bore for me so that my soul might live.
Instead let me offer you at the foot of your cross
the tears of my remorse, bitter as gall,
Repentance of heart for the hard cruel loss
You gave to save me, to redeem one and all.
I offer the sighs of my heart, O Bridegroom divine,
For the love that you have for this poor heart of mine.


Susan E. Stone, 2007

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Meditation on the Dying Christ 

Suspended in that heartbreaking place
where Heaven and earth meet in a crashing line,
Cruciform, an intersection of time and space
an unheard of mingling of mortal and the Divine,
in one man's flesh.

Hanging there in plain sight
You are an offering of love unimaginable,
burning with a never-ending light
dying, You give hope unfathomable
God giving up to God in sacrifice.

You wait there, Bridegroom of light
feeling the life you offer ebb away
throb by painful throb, in Heaven's sight
Your life extinguished, your death will be the ray
of an unfading lamp to lead the lost.

O Light to lead the lost, remember me,
Here in the darkness of this wayward land.
Light my every step so that I might see
The loving touch of your blessed hand
That reaches out to take me home.

Susan E. Stone, 2007


The Whip 

Let me never forget how you gave yourself, O Lord, to the soldier's whip,
three thongs of leather braided together, each thong capped with a biting tip.
How they gathered together,the soldiers there, with blows of anger and mocking,
Twisted together the wreath of thorns in jest for a brutal crowning.
How unfairly condemned you were that day with two thieves at your side --
Yet by all of this, the blood you shed, and the hard death that you died,
you wrought our salvation.

Still today we hold the soldier's whip so tightly in our grasp,
Hearing the leather hit your back and your breath's quick choking gasp,
the flagellum with its biting teeth flailing through the air
The blood from the crown we weave anew dripping down in your hair
each time we choose to hurt, to have the final say,
each time we chose to have by force, intent on just our way,
each time we ignore the need, and choose to gloat instead,
each time that we laugh at good, and wish another dead
instead of longing for your salvation.

Have mercy, Lord, on the hardness of our heart,
The many many sins and darknesses that tear this world apart,
Warm us in spite of our coldness, so that we might heal instead of harm,
to bless instead of curse with your strength in our strong arm,
to love instead of hate, when anger fills our life,
to be your word of peace instead of tools of strife,
to be the the tools of your salvation.

Instead of the whip, O Lord of life, give us hands of peace,
Give us true repentance to make that harsh whip cease.
Forgive us all our hardness that beats you more and more,
O with your grace, O Lord of Love, may we may go and sin no more,
rescued by your salvation.

Susan E. Stone

Labels: , ,

Meditation on the Passion 

When you prayed in the garden, Lord,
and the heaviness pressed all around you
from the weight of all we had had done and would do
echoing in the quiet night,
and you knelt there while the full moon's light
peaked through the olive trees,
Silent witness alone that sees
how you were sweating blood in the depths of your grief.

How heavy did today weigh on your shoulders, Lord,
How this war-torn world of anger and tears
mad with lust, demands and fears
Despising you for what you said about right --
Choosing the darkness and calling it light,
Twisting your words, despising your peace,
hot with hatred and selfishness that never does cease -
Sometimes done for God, sometimes done for gain
Intense the cry, but an ancient refrain--
How careless we are of what you taught.

When they tied you to the pillar, Lord,
and scourged you in the Roman way, cutting like a knife,
a beating so severe that it alone could take a life,
as the weights at the ends of the whips gouged your skin
and the heavy slap of the leather tore you within,
did you see babies ripped from their mother's womb as inconvenient,
the innocents blown up to make a political statement,
the slaughtered millions killed by machete, bomb and gas
because they belonged to the wrong class,
just happened to be the wrong culture or faith or bloodline,
put down for gain or as a warning sign.
Which gave you the most pain the cruel leather across your back
or the way we would hate and strike and attack,
the knowlege how we would reject you?

When you walked that long walk to your death, Lord
with the heavy crossbeam tied across your shoulders
as the proud and hard Romans paraded you and the others
the soldiers hating the noise and the crowd and the foreignness of it all,
and took out their spite by tugging your bonds and watching you fall,
And as they lifeted you back to your feet you saw your Mother there,
and the aching pain passed between you, her grief and motherly care
did you see all the other mothers aching in their pain for their children, too -
The evil to their sons and daughters that others would do,
mothers who watch their children die for others' gain,
mothers weeping in the night in inconsolable pain,
mothers who would cry to you for help.

When they nailed you to the cross, Lord,
and hung you up to die the slow hard death reserved for theives and slaves
in pain and shame and suffocation, until exhaustion takes them to their graves
did our evil make the pain that much sharper to feel?
Did our lack of mercy and love, our evil zeal
echo down the centuries like a pressing weight of lead,
sin upon sin laying on your head
making your sacrifice all the more painful?

And yet, still you managed to love us, and gave us all you had left,
Hanging on the cross, beneath a darkened sky, naked and bereft -
your mother, your forgiveness, your heart's blood.

Dear Lord,
Have mercy on us.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?