7 Sayings from the Cross

Across the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ death, Jesus speaks seven times. Much ink has been spilled exploring the way that each tells us what Jesus was doing on the cross.

I think the sayings are a good way to begin to explore atonement theology and will at some point write more fully on that subject. This post is not that.

I write a little poetry, I’ve had some published, and you can see more on this site, but I generally keep it away from the ‘blog’ as I’m no great poet and it’s much more a matter of taste whether or not a piece speaks to you.

A couple of years back I explored the seven sayings through attempting to write a poem for each. I find the act of writing an act of theological exploration as you consider each word, I’m hoping that for some these also might spark reflection on the mighty work of Christ for us.

But if this isn’t your thing, usual service will be resumed next week.


history's annals will speak of injustice
there is one that speaks louder
words of beauty in brutality
words that changed everything

the most shocking words
that have ever passed
from human lips fell
gently on the wind

"Father, forgive them."

A Friday

blood dripped from my Lord's face
suspended on wood and held in place
wonder at a God who would efface
dying to rescue the human race
paying the cost to purchase grace

"Remember me when you come into your kingdom"

blood dripped from my Lord's hand
falling upon the blazing sand
his wounds to bear forever brand
in sorrow he to willingly withstand
and take me to the promised land

"Today you will be with me in paradise"


Dying. Waiting. Building. In agony
to invite us into your family
fighting to have us back valiantly
to meld the threads into your tapestry.

You died to inaugurate a people
our warfare is ended; we soar like eagles
follow our prince of an army that's peaceful
caper and revel, a troupe most gleeful.

Our Saviour led his conscientious search
to gather the people, to weave the church
a people that were not, endeth the dirge
as the Master's plan began to converge.

The Lord brought us to discern each other
his finality our sins to cover
"Now behold thy son; behold thy mother"
the moment when God became my brother


left alone just me
in a world of desolation
a forlorn nigh corpse
ignored, cast out, godforsaken

forgotten, alone
lorn and incorruptible
amarinthine crowned
bloodied and untouchable

exposed, shame nailed
enduring upon the tree
my God, my God, O!
why have you forsaken me?


earth drained pale
life faded from the loam
cracked fields and arid tongues
barren soil dusts through parched hands

I dreamt of a day fiercely desired
a day of runnels overrun
and becks become bounty
when the hills remember green

can the well of life run dry?
you said to come you if we thirst
can we summon the tears to cry?
what if you need the water first?

the stale breath of God
hung, fetid, decaying
offered a sponge so dry
it could be a rock

you said that we'd never be thirsty again
and that a river would run from the mountain
was it just a hopeful refrain?
or are you hope's fountain?

once you took six jars and supplied a wedding
now a seventh gives you sour
when you made six sweet
a woman of ill repute brought you a seventh
so she could be your bride

feet stamped on ground hard from tears
your voice too weak to speak
your words fell desiccated from your lips

"I thirst"

So that I won't.


A man between heaven and earth
watched by waiting crows, hungry and impatient
his breathing gasping, failing
he hangs dying

Sweat drips from his brow
suspended naked, exposed to shame
a sinner condemned to a
cursèd death

His bare body displayed to Shame's great delight
his breath shallow as Death clacked his teeth
his head hung down, Sin smiled in hunger
the Adversary grinned

Sin, Shame and Death, they gathered to crow
with the Adversary watching on
a small smile tugged at the man's lips
as he breathed
"It is finished"


There is safety in a father's hands
In the depths of pain, hot and leaden
like the whimper of a terrified child
there is comfort in the downy embrace
like chicks with their mother

There is safety in a father's hands
In the midst of fear, cold and tight
like fingers stiff after playing in snow
there is freedom in being held tightly
like a gale on a mountaintop

There is safety in a father's hands
In the weighty pressure of fierce questions
like shoulders laden with many burdens
there is an ease in the yoke he gives
like tailored clothes that fit tightly

There is safety in a Father's hands
to commend your Spirit

Dear friends, the Lord died to bring you life, trust in him today.

Photo by Harley Upton on Unsplash

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