The Garden of Creation, now lost to one and all, replaced by forest thickets upon whose roots we fall; our destiny still governed by laws we always break and all creation stumbles over the mess we make. The fruit for which we lusted, upon that single tree, reminds us of our stubborn pride and failed humanity. The other Tree was kept from us lest we should live forever; expelled, we faced the mortal cost of our rebellious error. But while that sin stained everyone born to the world of men the love of God could not be dimmed and purposed, even then, to be the way for our return into his holy place, our restoration, full and free, by such a costly grace. Into our world he placed the seed: his Word, his Light, his Son and he, among us, lived and died - the hope for everyone. The Tree of Life was lifted up to bear the Lord of All as it became the wooden cross that broke our fateful Fall. And once again the Garden received that perfect Man and we began to understand the mystery of Love’s plan. The empty cross, the empty tomb, now relics of the fight: the darkness withers at the dawn of Resurrection Light.
The garden awoke: bathing in the fresh dew on its leaves and petals; stretching towards the light of dawn. They knew. The birds chased each other in the misty air, trilling their joy at being alive. They knew. The ancient trees, rooted deep, let their branches play in the breeze, responding to the warmth of the rising sun. They knew. The stream burbled its way with a brighter tone while the stones and the dust held their place but in their own way they knew. The shimmering air, the drifting clouds, the mountains and valleys, the lands and seas, the sun, moon and stars, they all knew ... and waited. First, the women came; focusing on the emptiness, fearing the worst, running to tell the men ... They didn't know. Next, the men, seeing the evidence, without understanding ... They didn't know. So much distress, so many tears, confusion and chaos swirling in their world. Then, just as on that first Day, God's Spirit hovered, the Son spoke ... and they knew. (c) 2020 Graham Oakes
Never, since the seventh day, had there been this silence of accomplishment. Not that the world noticed. It had long since lost its sensitivity to eternity and the breathing of creation. Behind the stone, in a virgin tomb, lay the body of the Creator. The Word that spoke, "Let there be Light", was contained within complete darkness, just as Deity had been contained within human flesh. The final sacrifice; the ultimate definition of "Immanuel" - God with us: in living, in dying and now in death itself. Outside, the soldiers nonchalantly do their duty. The Pharisees find comfort in their religion but are haunted by his words. The disciples, incredulous that it had come to this, fear for their own lives as those who had once believed ... The women keep watch. And, as the sun slowly slips into the evening of the seventh day, God, having accomplished all that could be done took his Sabbath once again ... (c) 2020 Graham Oakes
Three crosses stood on Calvary's hill struck deep to hold this dark world's ill; but one of them bore Heaven's Light that came to break our darkest night. Rejection spoke in hateful tone, “I curse you all, leave me alone”. A life depraved lost its last chance to look and live with just a glance. Repentance wept for debts unpaid and, in his agony, he prayed, “Remember me, O Master hear, for in your presence there’s no fear”. Redemption hung twixt heaven and earth, oh, who could tell its holy worth? Repentance heard these words of grace, “Soon, by my side, you’ll find your place”. Three crosses stood on Calvary’s hill with only one remembered still: the Cross that held Love, crucified, where, for our sake, our Saviour died. (c) Graham Oakes
He chose to wash disciples’ feet, despite his majesty, and showed them all the way of love, his holy destiny. Though tempted to refuse the Cup he knows its history. The Chosen One has made his choice and drinks his destiny. The Prince of Peace is judged by hate though reason would him free. This world will never let him rule and change its destiny. The Servant-King gives up his throne to grip a cruel tree. With hands held wide and crowned with thorns he bore his destiny. My God, my Saviour and my Friend has suffered all for me. He calls me to leave all for him and share his destiny. Now may I live as if I’ve died to all that I might be and rise with him, to live and love, this is my destiny. (c) Graham Oakes
This deep and silent darkness, this all too human fear; this self-denying Deity, this judgement drawing near. This cool and fragrant garden, this echo of the Fall; this reason for his Passion, this hard and heavy call. This path of pain and sorrow, this pruning of the bud; this cup that must be taken, this shedding of the blood. This one last opportunity, this choice to turn away; this Love that answers for him, this Will that means he'll stay. This Father-Son communion, this precious Trinity; this loss of heaven's presence, this fulfilled prophecy. This waited for arrival, this friend and solemn foe; this end to end all endings, this life to death must go. (c) Graham Oakes
This Holy City, silent now,
no congregating crowd;
no busy bustle in the streets,
no meetings are allowed.
But still Messiah makes his way
despite no welcome praise;
his mission, yet to be fulfilled,
the cross must still be raised.
He comes for one, he comes for all;
the sick, the lame, the lone;
he brings his comfort, peace and grace,
to make his Kingdom known.