Pondering "Strange Blood" on Good Friday

(Photo: Free images)
This Holy Week, I have been blessed by passages my husband has read aloud from his copy of "The Book of Common Prayer" at night before we go to sleep.

After hearing the Wednesday-before-Easter reading, I was struck by one particular phrase: "strange blood."

To put it in its biblical context, this refers to the animal sacrifice the ancient Jewish priests made in the tabernacle each year to atone for the people's sins. The priests, as commanded by God in the Book of Leviticus, would take the blood and pour it on the altar as a covering for transgressions.

A strange practice. A strange command.

Christians believe Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of that practice — he is the Lamb of God in human form — and because of the blood he shed, we no longer need to offer sacrifices as atonement.

While pondering this concept, I felt the combined weight of all the things I've been studying and learning start to soak into my skin.

On Maundy Thursday, aka The Last Supper/Passover celebration, Jesus predicted his death, burial and resurrection, and he also predicted Peter would deny him three times. Later that night and into the wee hours of the morning, it happened just as Jesus prophesied.

BUT, after the resurrection, he forgave Peter for his faithlessness and reinstated him into the fold of his disciples. Peter became the rock on which the church is built, one of the most passionate and outspoken apostles of the early church.

Oh, the power of forgiveness.

In the spirit of Christ's atonement and all else I learned this week about forgiveness, I wrote a poem yesterday called "Strange Blood." I won't share the whole thing here, because I intend to submit it for publication.

But I can share the first stanza. In the poem, Jesus is addressing Peter.

This cup full of strange blood,
spilling from my crown, my hands,
my feet and my heart,
is painted across thy lintel,
is poured over thine errors.

If you're going to remember one thing today, this Good Friday, remember this holiday exists to shout from the rooftops that your errors are covered, once and for all, because of Christ's "strange blood" poured over your sins.  

Read more of my poetry-related blog posts here.

You may also like

No comments: