Christina Rossetti, 1866
Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.
When we stand yet again beneath the cross this Good Friday, what happens to our heart?
For some of us, we see the divine drama of Good Friday with the eyes of newly found faith, and with “exceeding grief” lament the death of our Savior as the cost of our undeserved salvation.
For others, this Good Friday comes at the end of a line of many Good Fridays. And in its repetition, something has been lost. Here the poet laments her lack of lamentation. She is so familiar with the sacrifice, that she could number “drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,” but remain an unweeping stone.
Yet, by God’s grace, the lament of a lack of lamentation is enough. The prayer, “I believe; help my unbelief,” is enough to move our Savior’s heart (Mark 9:24). Whether we yearn with the irrepressible impulse of new faith or the reawakening of a deeply held faith, Good Friday reveals just how far the true Shepherd will go to find his lost sheep. May we be found today!