Sunday, May 19, 2013

Standing In The Shadow - poetry by Ken Hanson

Standing In The Shadow

The weatherman said to go outside,
It’s gonna be nice today,
One last chance to enjoy the sun,
Before winter is here to stay.

The wind and rain are gone for a while,
I’m tired of being inside,
Today it feels like summer again,
A good day to go for a ride.

A Harley is my steed of choice,
Made of steel and leather and chrome,
A city boy’s equivalent of a favorite horse,
Minus the living flesh and bone.

I head to the east in the warm sunshine,
Not knowing where I’ll go,
I gladly follow where the spirit leads me,
Pretty soon I’ll know,

Claude is in the mirror now,
I turn to the north for a while,
The V twin makes a sound that stirs my soul,
I enjoy it’s music mile after mile.

Something catches my eye on the northern horizon,
You can see it from miles away,
The city of Groom is ahead of me now,
The destination of my ride for today.

There’s a giant cross by the side of the interstate,
That’s what I’ve come here to see,
It stands like a beacon to the faithful and the lost,
I feel like it’s calling to me.

It’s been a while since I was at this site,
It’s construction many years old,
But it’s finished now for the world to see,
With a story that needs to be told.

The site is arranged in a circular pattern,
With the cross in the middle of the ring,
One hundred ninety feet tall from base to tip,
From twenty miles away it’s easily seen.

At fourteen stations around the perimeter,
Sculptures tell the story of trouble and strife,
Cast in bronze, the heartbreaking scenes,
From the last day of Jesus life.

At station one, Jesus condemned to death,
A crown of thorns on his head,
Hands bound in front, his eyes downcast,
He knows he will soon be dead.

The bronze captures every detail,
The look of despair in his eyes,
In bare feet standing before his accuser,
He knows that the charges are a pack of lies.

At station two, Jesus carries his cross,
His back bent from the weight,
He accepts the burden the soldier gives him,
Grace in spite of the torture and hate.

At station three, Jesus falls the first time,
But he won’t let the cross touch the ground,
His elbow on his knee, struggling with the weight,
Without any help to be found.

At station four, Jesus meets his mother Mary,
On her knees, her hands clasped in prayer,
Despite his burden, he tries to comfort her,
To ease her weeping and despair.

The look of anguish is evident in her eyes,
The detail in bronze is clear,
Frozen in time by a gifted sculptor,
She’s unable to help whom she holds so dear.

At station five, Simon helps Jesus,
He helps his friend support the weight,
Jesus touches his shoulder in appreciation,
Grateful for the effort despite knowing his fate.

At station six, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus,
Unable to help him though she wanted to,
He reaches out to comfort her grief,
It’s all that she can do.

At station seven, Jesus falls the second time,
Pain and agony on his face,
On his knees now, the cross touches the ground,
Our sins too heavy despite his grace.

At station eight, Jesus comforts the women,
Those who have followed his progress there,
Despite his burden he touches their hands,
In an effort the ease their despair.

At station nine, Jesus falls the third time,
The hardest one for me to see,
Knowing the torture that he endures,
Knowing he endures it for me.

Totally spent, face down on the ground,
The cross on top of his back now,
He sacrifices his own broken body,
To keep it off the ground somehow.

I look at this statue with tears in my eyes,
His sacrifice in bronze for all to see,
There is nothing I can do to deserve this mercy,
It’s a gift from him to me.

At station ten, Jesus stripped of his garment.
A soldier bares his scarred beaten skin,
They divide it between the four of them,
A reward for their own vile sin.

At station eleven, Jesus nailed to the cross,
He’s carried it as far as he can,
A heartbreaking sight, the spirit of God,
In the broken body of a man.

The cross is on the ground now,
Jesus flat on his back on top,
Powerful blows from the hammer of a soldier,
Unendurable agony that doesn’t stop.

A grimace of pain, nails in his wrist,
The hammer finds it’s mark again,
How much must our savior endure,
To cleanse us of our sin?

At station twelve, Jesus dies on the cross,
Flanked by two thieves on a cross, both dead,
Are you not the messiah? Save yourself and us,
Is what the unrepentant thief said.

Upon his death we received salvation,
His last gift to us while alive,
He gave his life in exchange for ours,
To ensure our souls will survive.

At station thirteen, Jesus taken down from the cross,
His body an empty shell now,
His death and resurrection the core of our faith,
Our mission is to tell everyone somehow.

At station fourteen, Jesus placed in his tomb,
The torture is finally done,
An unimaginable ending he didn’t deserve,
For the life of God’s son.

We all know the rest of the story,
On the third day he rose again,
A miracle overseen by God,
To save us from our sin.

The heavy stone that seals the tomb,
Is rolled back out of the way,
As the angels bear witness, the tomb is now empty,
As seen in the light of day.

Mankind changed on that third day,
Jesus paid the price despite the cost,
Salvation replaced our hopelessness,
It is our job now to tell the lost.

Standing in the shadow of this giant cross,
I reflect on what it means to me,
These magnificent sculptures, this beacon of hope,
Standing here for the world to see.

It means the sacrifice made by Jesus,
Is something we can never repay,
Unconditional love given freely,
I am thankful for everyday.

We know it is our duty as Christians,
To talk to people and help spread the word,
We tell others about the salvation Christ offers,
And make sure everyone has heard.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words,
To help the lost find their way,
Sometimes an example tells the story better,
Than any words you might say.

If you’re looking for something to help make a point,
About the importance of that empty tomb,
Do what I do, put ‘em in your car,
And take ‘em to this big cross in Groom!

-Ken Hanson 

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