Upon the cross, between two thieves they hung Him
(And now my stylus falters as I write
For I must stand and see His awful anguish;
I must face the darkest night.)
One thief cried out, ‘If thou be Lord, then save us!’
The other looked at him with glazing eyes,
And said, ‘Remember me, Lord, in thy kingdom.’
Christ said, ‘Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.’
The hours dragged on; yet there He hung suspended
Twix heaven and earth. Ah, ‘twas an awful sight!
I’d never seen such sights before — I was a soldier
Yet ne’er before did day become as night.
For three long hours the darkness lay about us;
The rocks were rent and lightning flashed around,
I dared not look — the sky grew darker, darker until
It seemed like midnight all around.
They said to me, ‘Go pierce His side, proud Roman,’
But, ah, my spear hung heavy at my side.
I could not thrust my spear — and so they called another.
I knew then that it was the Christ who died.
His seamless coat lay folded on the ground there,
They said the lot had fallen to me. With reverent, trembling hands I touched its border, then placed it where no human eye could see.
The day grew old. The thieves’ legs had been broken;
And men came to take our Lord away.
And more worthy lips than mine shall tell the story,
Of how Christ rose that resurrection day. I am not worthy.”
“Tis better to weave in the web of life, A bright and golden filling,
To do God’s will with a ready heart
And a hand that is swift and willing,
Than to break the delicate slender threads Of our curious lives asunder,
And then blame God for the tangled ends — And sit and grieve and wonder.”
Charles Banning said, “What a ring means to a bride, what the instrument is to a musician, the pen to a writer, the flag to a patriot, the cross is to a Christian. It is the symbol of the suffering servant. It is the guidepost showing the hard road to victory. When a Christian sees the cross, he knows he has not lost the way. A false report might last 40 days, but the church which was founded on a risen Christ has lasted for more than twenty centuries, and includes more than ten hundred million members.”
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.