Poetry of the Cross

Over at Rebecca Writes there are links to posts with the theme of the Poetry of the Cross. This is something I found that I’ll contribute during this Holy Week.

I found this old book on our bookcase that Dear’s parents owned. It is called The Gospel in Art by Albert Edward Bailey copyright 1916.

I’m sharing this portion from the section RENI: “ECCE HOMO” John 19:1-5


Reni, Guido (1575-1642) Original: in the National Gallery, London.

“There is no denying that the thought of Christ’s suffering has been a powerful stimulus to the religious life of the past. Latin Christianity is full of it, and even Greek Christianity found inspiration in it. Hymns to the suffering Savior have sounded from many a monastery cell and have echoed sweetly down even to our own time. Take for example the wonderful hymn of Bernard, redolent of the midnight vigil and of modes of thought characteristic of his age, but of such beauty that every country and every Christian sect claims a share of it.

“O Sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down;
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorn, thine only crown.
O Sacred Head, what glory,
What bliss till now was thine!
Yet though despised and gory
I joy to call thee mine.”

This hymn is one section of a long poem beginning “Salve mundi salutare,” addressed to the different members of Christ, “a most devout prayer of the Abbot St. Bernard, which he made when an image of the Savior with outstretched arms embraced him from the cross.” There is a still earlier hymn by Theoctistus of the Studium, Constantinople, less widely known but scarcely less beautiful in Neale’s translation. It is found in some of our hymnals under the first line, “Jesus, name all names above.” This hymn evidently arose under the same need as Bernard’s, and serves to show how all the harrowing details of suffering may be blended in thought with one’s highest spiritual good.

“Jesus, crowned with thorns for me,
Scourged for my transgression,
Witnessing in agony
That thy good confession.
Jesus clad in purple raiment,
For my evil making payment:
Let not all thy woe and pain,
Let not Calvary be in vain.”

When we visited the National Gallery we started in the religious art section with painting after painting of Christ on the cross. After a while I was eager to head to another part of the gallery. When I think of Jesus I do not typically picture Him on the cross at Calvary. I’m always eager to get from Good Friday (which my nephew thinks should not be called “good”) to Resurrection Sunday. I love to picture the Risen Christ, triumphant and victorious, after all that pain and agony. He Lives! Thanks be to God!

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.

About Ellenhttp://I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

3 thoughts on “Poetry of the Cross

  1. For me, For me was the cross of Calvary
    For me, For me was the message of liberty!

    Indeed HE LIVES so that we are set free!

  2. Looks like a wonderful book, a gallery in your own home. Thanks for your insights in the last paragraph. Thanks be to God indeed!

  3. I love your post on Christ’s suffering and I love that final hymn you reference!

    Even today, there are a number of people who would argue that Jesus did not have to have a bodily resurrection or some even argue that Jesus’ death alone was enough, but we agree with Paul when he tells us that anything short of a bodily resurrection ignores the victory of God.

    God does not want to just rescue people from this material world — God wants to restore all things. God CHOSE to send His son to die on the cross for OUR sins.

    Jesus’ resurrection reminds us of three things

    God has defeated death.
    God has defeated evil.
    God has begun His redemptive work.

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