how was it…

The earth trembled; its foundations
shook like silt; the sun, chagrined,
fled the scene, and every mundane
element scattered in retreat. The day
became the night: for light could not endure
the image of the Master hanging on a tree.
All creation was astonished, perplexed
and stammering, What new mystery is this?
The Judge is judged, and yet He holds his peace;
the Invisible One is utterly exposed, and yet
is not ashamed; the Incomprehensible is grasped,
and will not turn indignant; the Immensity
is circumscribed, and acquiesces; the absolutely
Unattainable suffers, and yet does not avenge;
the Immortal dies, and utters not a word;
the Celestial is pressed into the earthen grave,
and He endures! What new mystery is this?

The whole creation, I say, was astonished;
but, when our Lord stood up in Hades—
trampling death underfoot, subduing
the strong one, setting every captive free—
then all creation saw clearly that for its sake
the Judge was condemned, et cetera.
For our Lord, even when He deigned
to be born, was condemned in order
that He might show mercy, was bound
that He might loose, was seized
that He might release, suffered
that He might show compassion, died
that He might give life, was laid in the grave
that He might rise, might raise.

-scott cairns


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