SUBSTITUTE

Lynn B. Fowler

Poem by Lynn B. Fowler, Women’s Apostolic Alliance member

It should have been I

in the judgement hall

facing the charges brought:

indicted justly for my wrongs

before a righteous Judge.

Yet You stood, instead,

the sinless God

hauled for judgement

before sinful man.

You spoke not

to defend Your  innocence

but in silence bore my guilt

and in my place

received the sentence due to me.

It should have been I

whose back was whipped

for beatings

are for the backs of fools,

and I in foolishness

have set before You other gods

of stone, of flesh, of thought,

but mostly of myself,

whilst You

wisdom personified

have brought the truth.

It should have been I

whose hands and feet were nailed

to cruel beams

wrenched

as they shuddered into place

and torn

by the weight of sin’s burden.

For my hands have often been

the instrument of  evil

and yet more often still have failed

to do the good they could have wrought;

my feet have carried me

to places where Your Spirit

could not comfortably rest.

But your hands

brought only life

and Your feet

led you only in the Father’s paths.

It should have been I

whose head was crowned with angry thorns

for thoughts of anger

hatred, envy, lust and greed

are not strangers to its paths

and my mind

in rebellion

has often sought

to raise itself above the throne of God.

But Your mind bowed

before the Father’s will

obedient even

to this ignominious end.

It should have been I

whose heart was pierced

this heart in which

the depths of degradation lurk;

whose motives all

are tainted with corruption

and whose purest thoughts

stink of death.

Instead, Your heart of love

was rent

not by the soldier’s sword

but by my guilt.

It should have been I

who died

exposed in naked shame

before the eyes of all

who cared to look;

screaming eternally

to unresponding infinity

for the just God

who turned His head away.

But You,the righteous One

received my wages due

and I

walking free and clean

offer my inadequate response:

Thank You.

Thank You.

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