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poetry

Another Tree

At Grace Kernersville, Artist Keaton Sapp has installed the fifth piece in his series, “The Stations of the Cross.” His pen and ink drawing is titled, “The Crucifixion.” Through the series, Keaton tells the story of Jesus’ passion week through the image of a fig tree. The imagery of the violence of the crucifixion is clear in these drawings.

crucifixion

Jesus’ suffering in the crucifixion in some way gives an answer to the question of whether our own sacrifices are of any value. The question asked by the disciples when Mary anoints Jesus at the beginning of Passion Week, “Why all this waste?” is often echoed in our hearts, “Is this just a waste or is this doing any good?”

When under the pressure of a great trial and in the midst of even greater need, the cynicism of whether there is any meaning or point creeps into our hearts and minds. We begin to imagine that there is no point or meaning. Granted, we may never come to see a point as to why something has happened, but that does not mean that whether we respond in faith is of no meaning or value. If Passion Week means anything, if Good Friday and Easter Sunday mean anything, they do mean, that faith in God is not in vain. What Jesus sets out to do, he accomplishes. His accomplishment is validated by his resurrection, and his victory means our victory, that our ‘labor in the Lord is not in vain’ (1Cor 15:58).

You may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

I wonder sometimes if I might be
A pointless, fruitless, cursed fig tree,
If my waiting in faith matters at all,
If blessing from heav’n will ever fall.

Will in this moment of sacrifice,
In receiving the cup, laying down life–
Will it matter at all? Will anyone care,
Or see the burden which I freely bear?

Men kick with boots, on The Holy, tread;
Crown with thorns; thresh with flail; beat till red;
Crush the tender leaf; snuff out the wick;
Step upon the broken; beat and kick;
And break in anger; uproot and tear
The life from Him who is life — is dear.
These men raise up another tree
To take in hand their own destiny.

Laid at the root is judgment’s ax.
I see now You hear, know what I ask;
For me You bore the blade, were cut down
That You might rise, share with me Your crown.

The punishment which brings me peace
Was born by You whom I counted least
That doing good I shall never be
Fruitless in faith, as a cursed fig tree.

© Randall Edwards 2020.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thank you.
Artwork: © Keaton Sapp 2020, “The Crucifixion” Pen and ink. All Rights Reserved.

By randamir

I pastor Grace Presbyterian Church in Kernersville, North Carolina which locals fondly refer to as K-vegas -- the town not the church. As D.T. Niles once said, "I am not important except to God."

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