Today marks the beginning of Passion Week, the time when Christians remember the days leading up to the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection after three days. “Passion” comes from a Greek word conveying the idea that one’s senses are pushed to their max—and even past. “Passion” can express any extreme experience—pleasure or pain. In the case of Passion Week, the agony of the cross—which pushed Jesus’s senses past their max—is what is meant.
The truth of Christ is not outwardly beautiful or polished. To embrace Christian belief is, in some sense, to embrace the cross of Christ and the death of Christ as our own (Luke 9:23). This is the narrow gate leading to life because only if we died with Him will we also live with Him (Matt. 7:13; 2 Tim. 2:11).
Below is a poem I wrote called “Artless.” It seemed a fitting poem to post at the head of Passion week; it attempts to capture something of Jesus’s cross and our participation in it. “Artless” will appear in my third book, Shadow and Memory, which I plan to self-publish in May or June 2023.
Artless Truth is rough-hewn To touch it is to feel the thousand barbs of this splintered life pierce your grasp to feed yourself to crossbeams that bite down and drag you through streets graffitied with your blood to beg the question as rage-hammered spikes punch chunks of your hands into the wood Part of you will always be in it now even when they take you off of it and put you in a grave where you will finally (they think) lie