CELTIC CROSSES AT SUNSET
THE CROSS TITLE

COMPASSIONATE LOVE


Two thousand years ago a totally sinless
man allowed his body to become a battered
mass of flesh that dangled helplessly from a
wooden cross.  Covered with blood and spit,
Jesus offered his life for the sins of the world.
His is truly the story of compassionate love.


Vision

Standing on the edge I held my heart in
my hands.  Behind me the lights of the city
stared like cat's eyes into night so black that
death itself seemed to scream out loud, "This
is mine and no love can penetrate!"

I closed my eyes in terror and tried to 
remember the story that now seemed so 
necessary to understand.

Suddenly a voice called my name.
Looking up I saw a large mural which
stretched across an open field.  On it were
haunting paintings of men, women and
children.  Pain was etched on their faces.

At the end of the mural was a cradle with
the words "THE ANSWER" carved into the
headboard.  Inside the cradle was a baby boy.
I laid my heart at his feet.


his arrival 
was quite unique.
he entered this earth
as a baby,
but he was the fruit
of special seed.


the wisest of men
knelt at his feet.
they possessed an understanding
that someday
this little boy would rise,
a conquering king.


at the age of twelve
he commanded the attention
of educated men.

they marveled
at the words
which he would speak.

more than a boy,
more than a boy was he.


at the age of thirty
he began his public ministry.

this was only the beginning.

the very nature
of the universe
was changing.

dramatically.


he could look
into children's eyes
and stun them with love.

he made them feel safe.


he had great strength.

steel-armed fishermen
were hooked by his words.

they sensed a power
that was stronger
than the waves of the sea.


his ability
to heal diseases
caused national attention.

at his touch
the blind could see.

he could raise the dead
with his voice.


he spoke
of building our lives
on the right foundation.

he claimed to be security,
a place to dwell
in time of need.


his reference
to the narrow path
caused outrage. 

his enemies screamed,
"how could he be
the only way!"


he didn't ask for money.
he had no needs.

his speech was honest
and straightforward.

his only request,
"follow me."


his authority
was so complete
that even demons
were subject to him.

his light penetrated
the darkest corners of society.

his mere presence
caused evil to flee.


he said that
the material possessions
of this world
would all fade away,

and that
the only lasting treasure
lies deep in the heart.


some of his friends 
were prostitutes and thieves.

he went to parties.

he wasn't afraid
to get dirty.


religious men
didn't like him.

he shattered their traditions
and exposed their hypocrisy.


he made fools wise.
he made the weak
into vessels of strength.

he lifted up
the poor and lonely.

the hungry
were completely satisfied.

he was water 
to the thirsty.


he didn't hide
in lavish temples.

his domain was the street.

he didn't wear 
ornamental robes.

he was clad
in humility.


undaunted by threats
he moved bravely
from city to city.

afraid of no one
he proceeded,
proclaiming his glory,
proclaiming his victory.


a ragged band of men
partook of his journey.

one dozen hearts and minds
were carefully woven
into a fabric
not often seen,

the garment of unity.


a man of controversy,
he made people choose
between good and evil.

he left no middle ground.


he spoke
of rebuilding the temple
in three days.

many questioned his sanity.


his enemies
planned to destroy him.

they infiltrated
his inner circle
and turned
the weakest heart.


the price 
of his betrayal,
thirty coins.

the cost,
ultimate tragedy.

a cold handshake
shaped eternity.


at his last meal
he shared intimately,
but his friends
lacked understanding.

what would they say
when they watched him bleed?


his arrest
came suddenly.

hundreds of armed men
surrounded him,
casting curious stares
in the glow of moonlight.

they thought 
they were obeying.


his subsequent trial
was a mockery.

truth was avoided completely,
yet he said nothing.

those in authority
were startled by his dignity.


beaten and bloody
he was forced to carry
the heaviest weight.

as he slowly climbed
to his place of destiny
nature itself
groaned in agony.


his cross
was dropped violently
into the earth.

the force
jerked his body.

he died slowly.


overwhelmed with sorrow
his mother
feel to her knees.

bitter tears
filled the hands
that once held him.


hours later
a sharpened spear
exploded into his side.

water and blood
stained the handle
then dripped
to the earth below.


as his last tortured breath
hung in the air
death's silent dancers
circled his body,
laughing and mocking
in grotesque harmony.


cold black sky
veiled the father
from the son.

once brave soldiers
now trembled with fear.


Jesus' lifeless silhouette
was a haunting sight.

his enemies rejoiced.

his friends 
timidly wept in secrecy.

everyone assumed
that this was the end
of the carpenter king.


they were wrong.


"For only I, the Messiah, have come to
earth and will return to heaven again.  And as
Moses in the wilderness lifted up the bronze
image of a serpent on a pole, even so I must
be lifted up upon a pole, so that anyone who
believes in me will have eternal life.  For God 
loved the world so much that He gave His
only Son so that anyone who believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life.

God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn it, but to save it."  

Jesus Christ