Sunday, March 23, 2014

A New Poem for Lent


During my first pilgrimage to Israel
archeologist and guide, Micha Ashkenazi
took us to Caesarea to view a replica
of a piece of limestone
partially inscribed with the name Pontius Pilatus

Micha had been a member of the team
that unearthed the stone there
during a dig in 1961

It is the only evidence
of the historical existence
of the Roman governor
outside the New Testament
and writings of Josephus Flavius

Interesting, Pilate, who may have given
a modicum of credence to his wife’s warning
to have nothing to do with Jesus
did make an abysmal effort
to prevent the crucifixion
by setting Barabbas
before the riled multitude

When the crowd shouted to free Barabbas
and called for death to Jesus
their chants of

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

drummed in his ears

Pilate asked for a basin of water
He washed his hands in front of them—
as if water could possibly cleanse him
of responsibility for what would happen next

The irony is that even now
thousands of years hence
contempt for this man is as clear
as his name etched in stone—

for wherever believers gather
and proclaim their creed


suffered under Pontius Pilate
was crucified, dead and buried…

Pilate’s guilt is an indelible stain
that can never be
washed away

Maude Carolan Pych

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