3rd September

The Young Warrior Climbs Upon The Cross

Christ himself carried our sins in his own body to the tree, so that we might be finished with sin and be alive to all that is good. 1 Peter 2: 24

In the poem The Dream of the Rood the tree now speaks:

I remember the morning a long time ago
that I was felled at the edge of the forest
and severed from my roots. Strong enemies seized me,
bade me hold up their felons on high,
and made me a spectacle. Men shifted me
on their shoulders and set me on a hill.
Many enemies fastened me there.
I saw the Lord of humankind
hasten with such courage to climb upon me.
I dared not bow or break there
against my Lord’s wish, when I saw the surface
of the earth tremble.
I could have felled
all my foes, yet I stood firm.
Then the young warrior, God Almighty,
stripped himself, firm and unflinching.
He climbed upon the cross, brave before many, to redeem humankind …
They drove dark nails into me; dire wounds are there to see,
the gaping gashes of malice; I dared not injure them.
They insulted us both together; I was drenched in the blood
that streamed from the Man’s side after he set his spirit free.
From The Dream of the Rood Trans. Kevin Crossley-Holland

I wrap my soul and my body from fears
Under your guarding, O Christ.
O Christ of the tears, of the wounds, of the piercings,
May your cross this night be our eternal shield
Your cross between us and all enemies without;
Your cross between us and all enemies within;
Your cross our sure way from earth to heaven