The Nail Man

Which one was it 
that held the nails
and then hammered them
into place?

Did he hit them
out of anger,
or a simple
sense of duty?

Was it a job
that had to be done,
or a good day’s work
in the open air?

And when they
clawed past bone
and bit into wood,
was it like all the others,
or did history
shudder a little
beneath the head
of that hammer?

Was he still there,
packing away his tools,
when ‘It is finished’
was uttered to the throng,
or was he at home
washing his hands
and getting ready 
for the night?

Will he be
among the forgiven
on that Day of Days,
his sin having been slain
by his own savage spike? 

This amazing poem returns to my consciousness every Good Friday. Thank you Steve Turner for your profound and poignant reminder of the mystery of the atonement.

Proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes

Matthew 26:14-35

Coming Friday, many Christians churches will celebrate communion / Lord’s Supper / Eucharist.

Reading Tom Wright’s Lent reflections on Matt 26, I was struck by his statement that one of the purposes of the Lord’s Supper is to point us to the coming of the Kingdom (Matt 26:28-29).

I wondered how that understanding might influence our celebrations this Good Friday.

Certainly, communion is celebrating the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Coe 11:26), and our focus is often on ‘the Lord’s death’. But it’s also true that we do this ‘until he comes’. In the one act we look back and we look forward.

Here’s my thought: maybe it’s not just the duration of the celebration (until he comes), but the fact that he is coming has a bearing on how we celebrate, and what the supper really means.

In my church circles, the Lord’s Supper was, and still is, celebrated with great reverence and gravitas. But this got me thinking there should also be a celebration of the truth that Jesus died and rose again. This his death is the end of our death and his resurrection is the beginning of our life. That his living in us, him, being part of us, inside us – we have just eaten the bread and wine – is an assurance of his power to live his life in our world?

The message of the Lord’s Supper / Communion / Eucharist is not only that we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ, that out sins have been atoned, that our guilt is removed, that our death is conquered.

It is also that through his death we are truly alive, more alive than we ever dreamed (see John 10:10 MSG)! Alive to do his will. Alive to bring his life into this world. Alive to live his justice and righteousness. Alive to put things right; the way our gracious God would want them to be.

So, as we share the supper, is there a belief that Christ is, even now, through his risen people, making things right? And that this life, this new life, is the very life we are being nourished for in the Supper?

That would really be proclaiming the reality of the Lord’s death until he comes.