Although our beloved friend and host of Friday 55, G-man, is no longer with us I humbly offer my traditional good Friday 55s with this year's newest verse appearing as the last in the collection.
tormented, unclean, unwelcome.
He drove away my darkness,
restored me to a community.
I followed him,
served him gratefully.
Now I follow at a distance
witnessing his torment
as darkness falls on him,
while the others turn away.
I watch where his body is laid.
So I may offer
my final loving act of service.
I followed him secretly
since I was on the council which opposed him.
At His trial
I would not condemn him
though the others did.
What I could not do while He lived
I dared after He died.
I boldly asked Pilate
for the body,
prepared it for burial,
laid Him in my own tomb.
I found no fault
in the one brought before me.
My wife warned me.
Herod returned him to me.
I offered to release him
but the crowd demanded the murderer instead.
Lacking strength of conviction,
I yielded to the mob.
Water washed my hands
but could not cleanse my conscience
of an innocent man's blood.
I left my business and my home to follow him.
I sat at his feet,
swore my allegiance,
said I'd die with him.
drew my weapon in his defense.
When my test came
I cowered in the darkness,
denied we ever met,
and knew my love was nothing
as his poured out for faithless me.
I came to Jerusalem for the Passover.
I heard the commotion,
saw the condemned paraded in the street.
One was barely alive.
I turned away until...
the Roman yanked me from the crowd,
laid the beam on my shoulders.
Only when I met the bloodied man's eyes
did I realize he endures the judgment
Merciless sun blisters my skin as the crowd's unrelenting curses assault my ears.
The weight of my own guilt,
the pain of dislocated joints and bound limbs bear down so heavily
I can barely breathe.
I dangle between present agony and hopeless eternity until He tells me,
"Today you will be in Paradise with Me."
I'm glad to follow my orders well.
It's like taking out the trash to rid the earth of the scum we execute here.
Today is different.
One never begged for mercy, never fought us.
He spoke mercy on us all.
For the first time I feel guilt.
I fall to my knees, confess His deity.
We had to travel when my time was so near.
When the king was killing the little boys we had to flee for our lives.
I was panicked when we lost him in the city.
But nothing has pierced my heart
like watching the spikes enter his flesh
and the sword plunge into his side.
I am a son of thunder
And have asked him
To pour wrath upon the unrighteous.
I’ve witnessed his transfiguring divinity
On the mountaintop.
I’ve been promised a seat in his kingdom.
I watch him gasp for breath.
He entrusts his mother to my care
And I am struck by the humanity
Of a son.