Friday, March 11, 2005

Vignettes at the Cross

She didn't recognize him. Bruised, bloody, beaten. He stumbled under the weight of the splintered Cross. Wind tunneled down the narrow street, billowing his blood soaked robe. Flesh hung and she could see the jagged edges of his skin and muscle. She could see through to the bone.

She looked away as bile rose in her throat and tears streamed her face without restraint. What had they done to him? Why? The man she loved, whose feet she washed with her tears. They tried him as a common criminal. Battered and humiliated him beyond belief. For what? For loving them? For healing them?

The jeering and mocking of the crowd pounded in her head like the wild beating of drums and she wanted to scream. "Stop! Leave him alone!"

Isn't that what he said to her accusers the night she washed his feet with her perfume? "Leave her alone," he commanded. "She's done this for my burial." She knew then of his complete acceptance, his unending love. His eyes never left her face. No man ever looked at her the way he did. Pure. Without demand. Without lust.

Now, oh now. She dared to look at him again. He'd fallen and blood stained the cobblestones. The cross tipped off his shoulder and he stumbled, pain contorting his battered face. Help him. Help him.

Then, there was his hand, reaching out to her. His eyes swollen closed, but his hand, trembling, red and dripping, reaching. To her? My friend.

"You! Carry the cross." A soldier jerked a man from the crowd. He stumbled forward, but with such care, took the cross from him. Blood fell on the man's clothes, his hands and feet.

She followed the procession to the hill. Sobbing, uncontrollable, helpless to stop them as they nailed his hands, his feet to the splintered tree. He flinched with each blow of the hammer, but not once, not once did he cry out.

Willing he went, she now knew. But why? He's innocent. So beautiful.

She stood at the foot of his cross, and with one last breath, he gazed down at her. There were others, crowding around, but she felt as if he saw her alone. He struggled to look, the blood from the thorns seeping down.

She dared, reaching up to touch his battered, pierced foot. He groaned when she touched him. Any other time, any other man, she would not have recognized him. But there, in his eyes, she saw her true love. His lips parted. A smile. Did he smile? In the midst of such suffering, did he smile? At me?

Then she understood, absorbed with her entire being, the purpose of this man. More than the night she wiped his feet with her hair. More than when she looked at his face and he silenced her accusers. Complete and utter love, without condition. Nothing could separate them now. Not even death.


Heather Diane Tipton said...

Oh Wow.

Anonymous said...

That's the writing I have been waiting for


Paula said...

So beautiful. Thank you, Rachel. BTW, I've been thinking this week about the fact that Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after He rose. Why do you think God did that? It was such a gift to Mary, she who so counted on His love--she who so "got" grace.

And thanks, too, for visiting Gracereign.