Crucifixion. (Reflections of a Centurion.)

Rough rugged timber gaunt against the empty sky
And I said to my friends,
Who’s going to die?
They said, ‘That guy who calls himself the Son of God’
And they laughed.
And so they should
For how could this be,
The Son of God from Galilee?!

I watched him stumbling up the hill,
The day hung heavy and time stood still
As we hammered the nails into his hands
And jolted the cross into a hole in the ground.
I looked up at him as he hung on that tree
And I felt his gaze resting on me
And my heart seemed to bang so loud in my ears,
But why should I feel this way
For all these years, I’d watched men die,
But never before had I wanted to cry.
And all around people were weeping and crying
Whilst the man on the cross was quietly dying.

‘I’m sorry’ was what I wanted to say,
But how could I face him
When I’d made him that way……
I’d driven the nails into his lovely hands and
Pressed to his brow that cruel thorny band.
So I threw a dice and his robe became mine
And as I wrapped it around me
It seemed as though time and eternity met together as one,
And I stood and shivered in the fading sun.
Then the earth shook and black darkness fell
As though the whole world was in conflict with Hell.
And I fell on my face trembling, ashamed and alone,
Afraid and confused at the thing I had done.
Then I tried to look at the man on the tree
And through the gloom and my tears found him looking at me,
Heard Him whisper ‘Forgive’ and knew I was forgiven
For He had changed my Hell into Heaven.

The darkness was lifting as His voice rang out
In triumph and victory ‘It is finished’ was His shout.
Then His head dropped down, He was silent again
And I knew this was the end of His terrible pain.
I held the robe round me and stumbling, I ran away from this place
Where my life had begun.
And the crying and sobbing rang on in my ears
But I knew he had died for my guilt and fears

I stood with my back ‘gainst the old city wall
And looked up at that shadow on the place of the skull
An empty cross now, like a man, it stood
With arms outstretched to embrace the world.
Then with tears in my eyes and my hands lifted high,
I thanked him that for me he was willing to die
And in my mind I saw him nailed to that wood…..
And I knew that this man was the Son of God.

Chrystabell Easter 1989 ©


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