by David Gunner Gundersen
Valentine's Day 2004

The human blood ran slow and thick
Along the slanted crossbeam.  “Prick
A couple hundred good, full veins,|
And that’s just what you’ll get.  The pains
Of crucifixion aren’t that bad
When you’re the one who’s watching, lad.”
The Roman torturer grinned at his
Apprentice.  “What on earth did this
Man do?”  “Oh, I don’t know.  These kind
We hang up on a cross are swine.
They’ve always done some heinous thing
You can’t imagine.  See?  ‘The King
Of Jews.’  He must have gone and tried
To take the throne.  And hundreds died,
I’m sure, because of him.”

                                                  A bead
Of blood was forming, soon to heed
The pull of gravity and drop
Free-falling towards the mud and slop
And bloody puddle down below.
“He’s lost a lot of blood, you know.
They always do.  But I’m surprised—
I’ve never seen a puddle rise
As full as this.  It’s like that feast
The Jews have every year—at least
A million sheep or more they kill,
And all the blood runs down to fill
The valley, and it runs so red
It seems the god of life is dead.
They say it’s for forgiveness.  How
Ridiculous!  So am I now
Forgiven since I killed a man?
He’s more than just a puny lamb!”
The torturer laughed at his own joke.
“I get forgiveness and his cloak!”

The drop began to separate
And leave the wooden beam, and eight
Feet later hit the crimson pool
That had not yet grown hard and cool.
So when it struck, it made a splash
And made a surging ripple dash
Across the small and scarlet sea
Below the punctured feet.  Now free,
This tiny wave went out to reach
Each tiny shore, each little beach,
To touch each dirty, muddy coast
Around that puddle, like the most
Devoted lover who would go
At any cost, through any foe
To any land, give life and breath
To find the bride he loved to death.

And so with blood it all began:
A ripple from a dying Man.


This bloody ripple is a sign
Of God the Father’s grand design
To pour the blood of His dear Son
Into the world so that one
By one, the rising ripples reach
The farthest, foulest, human beach.
He mends the tattered human heart
By tearing One He loved apart.
So every nation, tribe, and tongue
Will hear and know of Him who hung
And groaned and screamed and bled and died
And gave His back and head and side
And hands and feet and breath and life
And did not halt the jagged knife
Of justice in His Father’s hand,
But bowed to what they both had planned—
For blood and love to pay a price:
A dying, dripping sacrifice.

So if you’ve tasted of this blood,
If you have felt the crimson flood
Wash over you in waves of grace,
If you have seen the Savior’s face,
Then go and be a wave of love
To wash up on the shoreline of
Some sinner who has never found
New life in being soaked and drowned
In Jesus’ blood.  Go far and wide
And be the ever-rising tide
Of Gospel news and Gospel light,
Go cover every depth and height
And width and length of every land.
Go shape and form the distant sand
Of every island on the earth.
Go tell them of His humble birth
And how He lived and how He loved,
How He forgave the man who shoved
The stabbing crown into His head
And pierced His body ‘til He bled
So much it seemed just like that feast
The Jews have every year—at least
A million sheep or more they kill,
And all the blood runs down to fill
The valley, and it runs so red,
It seems the Prince of Life is dead.


Remember, Friends: the love of God
Shines brightest from the glistening rod
Of Wrath that drips with blood so bright
That it can make the darkness light.
Imagine:  all on your behalf,
A Father broke His Son in half.
Imagine—it will steal your breath:
A Father beat His Son to death,
And gave His body to be cursed,
And loved you best and loved you first.


The Roman blood ran slow and thick
Across the stone.  It had been quick.
The head had rolled four feet away
And slowly paled to lifeless gray.
The corpse lay motionless and calm,
As if some consolation psalm
Had been upon the dying lips
Of this old man.  “So many trips
He made to care for all the poor
And homeless, for the harlot, whore,
The blind and sick and dumb and lame—
Too bad he had to die in shame.”
The executioner wiped off
His axe, and watched a bloody trough
Begin to run between the bricks
Along the dungeon floor.  The six
More Christians who were lined up for
Their turn had watched the man implore
The Lord:  “O Christ, forgive these men;
They know not what they do.”  And then
The blade sliced through his neck.  The red
Began to drip.  A soldier said,
“I wonder who he was…”  “Oh, Sir,
He was a Roman torturer.”

And so the bloody wave runs strong
Through generations, like a song
Of love that echoes night and day
And tells how much God’s love will pay
To save the man who killed His Son,
To send the ripples one by one.

So now that you have seen the cross,
Regard all else as vain and loss,
And go and be, with love and tears,
The ripple of two thousand years.


© David A. Gundersen, 2005

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