POEMS FOR HOLY WEEK AND THE TRIDUUM
PALM SUNDAY
It is Passover time,
A busy time, 
people jostling,
riding donkeys.

Near a gate of Jerusalem
A smallish,
almost non-descript 
donkey stood tethered.

None seemed to want him 
until two men approached.
They looked and then nodded.
He will do nicely.

A fellow nearby shouted, 
“What are you doing?”
For our Master’s need 
to ride this donkey.

Jesus patted this smallish beast,
Climbed on his back
To the donkey’s delight.
“Where am I going?” he thought?

To his astonishment, shouts
clamoured about his ears 
palm branches tickled his side.
Who is on my back?

My feet took my rider
Over cobblestones to the temple
He patted me on my back
A job well done!

Sometime later
A passer-by said, “Look!”
A cross this donkey has
marked clearly on his back.

I had my triumphal hour,
A honour no other had.
Carrying the Saviour of the world
To cleanse his Father’s temple.



SIX DAYS BEFORE THE PASSOVER
Jesus loved His friends, 
in Bethany they lived.
A last visit I must; to
Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

A little while ago
Lazarus had died.
You were in Jerusalem
Only if You had been here!

At last you come!
What good news to Martha’s ears.
Your brother will rise!
“I am the resurrection and the life.”

Now sharing this last meal 
Lovingly prepared by Martha.
Mary’s mind as always
Focused on holier concerns.

She loved her Lord dearly
Not bothered with food
She knelt at His feet
Something she had done so often.
(Didn’t her sister scold her so!)

In her hand a bottle of perfume
The best nard possible
Not with a drop or two.
A whole bottle she poured - Lavishly.

Her hands gently and lovingly massaged 
perfumed nard into your dusty feet.
Feet that dustier would come 
along the via Dolorossa.

Mary’s long-flowing hair
wiped your perfumed feet.
The lavish scent lingered 
during the evening meal.

In those hours of torture close by
Mary’s kind caresses lingered
soothing away Your tiredness
with her lavishness and love.

Mary loved you deeply.
Anointing you for burial
With a love only she could give
to farewell her Lord.




THE BETRAYAL
What makes a friend betray a friend?
Envy? Jealousy? Power?
We can only guess
Why Judas went to the High Priest.

He bargained with them
For thirty pieces of silver,
The price for a slave
To betray His Master

What was he thinking?
When he arranged a time
To deliver Him up
To those who hated Jesus.

The sign was a kiss
Can you betray your Master 
With an affectionate sign?
O Judas, how could you!

It was too, too late 
To your senses you came.
What have I done?
Betrayed innocent blood.





THE FEET WASHING
You did something remarkable 
rising from supper
you discarded your garment.
A jug and bowl you took 
and to your waist a towel.

Kneeling, you a servant
washed the disciples feet,
dried them tenderly.
Peter, proud Peter, “No!
No, unless all of me!”

Don’t you still understand?
If I wash you not,
No part you have in me.

A strange stillness lingered in the air
Jesus said, “not all are clean.”
What did He mean?
Hadn’t He washed all of us?

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said,
“Do you know what I have done?”
I, your Master have washed your feet.
This is my example to you and all.
Blessed are the ones who do this.


THE UPPER ROOM
The hour had come 
in an upper room 
to share the last meal 
with those who had followed you.

Knowing dark hours awaited, 
not so much for yourself
but for your disciples,
You spoke to them of service.

As you broke bread,
You told them to do this.
To remember Him always,
This is my body.

The blessed cup you shared, 
initiating the new covenant 
with its promise of the kingdom,
My blood has been shed
TO GIVE LIFE TO ALL.




GETHESEMANE
You had prayed for your disciples
During your last meal with them.
Now it is  time to pray
To the Father for guidance
for Yourself.

What is His will?
Is it what You fear?
As you pray
You are in great agony,
As You fear the worse.

An angel comes to Your help
To strengthen You
In Your last combat with Satan.
He did not win in the desert
He will not win here.

You determine, not My will
But my Father’s.
Wherever it leads.
Arise, My disciples
We must be going.  


TRIAL
The authorities thirsted for death, 
exclaiming Jesus had to go.
Judas with a kiss 
gave them that chance.

From the garden they led Jesus 
to Pontius Pilate.
"What charge do you bring?"
"Blasphemy," said they.

A king! So you are a king!
A king indeed I am!
Yet not of this world.
My kinship is heavenly.

No power would you have,
Unless given by my Father.
Pilate found you harmless
The authorities thought otherwise.

“Ecco homo! Behold your king!”
“No king have we but Caesar.”
"Crucify him! Crucify him.”
He deserves to die.


GOOD FRIDAY
Who is able to endure Your suffering dear Lord?
Of the nails being driven into your hands and feet
And hoisted high, so high on your cross.

You go to breathe, but there is little air,
The pain is excruciating and penetrates
Every part of Your still panting body.

Despite that intense pain and agony
You know this is Your victory over evil.
You are indeed the King of the Jews.

Your Father’s will has been accomplished
as you lived so you die in obedience.
The sin of man has been expiated.

You die so quickly, no struggle for you.
It is Your life offered to the Father.
In loving service rendered for man.

At dusk, the soldiers pierced your side,
Blood and water flow forth
Signifying life to believers.

O dearest Lord all this you endured
so that we might lovely be
in the new order of creation.



REPOSE
At last all is finished!
A touch of kindness 
after the agony of the day.

Your broken and bruised body 
taken from the cross.
Loving arms caress you.

Joseph with Nicodemus,
Lovingly and lavishly anoint 
the lacerations from scourging.

They wrap your perfumed body 
in a clean, linen cloth 
and place you gently in the tomb.



THE WOMEN
Watching silently before Sabbath, 
are the women of Galilee, 
absorbed in their grief. 

Could this really have happened? 
Is our Master dead 
Who raised Lazarus from the tomb? 

Sundown, and they must flee 
to their homes to observe 
the Sabbath in prayer. 

The first light streaks across the horizon, 
the Sabbath gives way to a new dawn,
But who will roll the stone away?

Laden with spices they returned 
to anoint the blessed body of Jesus,
instead an angel in white greets them,
HE IS NOT HERE; HE IS RISEN!



MARY MAGDALENE
Mary why weepest thou so?
Those hot bitter tears 
so early in the morning.

I seek my dearest Rabbouni,
Where is his body?
I want so much to anoint.

In her blurred vision
The gardener she perceived,
Tell me where He is?

Mary, Mary, dear Mary,
Rabbouni! You are alive!
O happy the thought.

Her happiness overflowing 
she reaches out to touch, 
to hold, to embrace once again.

No, no, Mary, you must not,
I have a more important task
you are to be my apostle too.

I want you to tell my disciples
I ascend to my Father and yours,
My God and yours.

“I have seen the Lord!”
Mary blurted to the disciples.
He is not dead but alive! M.D.

Marianne Dorman

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