I Thirst

The Crucifixion as Seen from the Cross by James Tissot, 19th Century

The Crucifixion as Seen from the Cross by James Tissot, 19th Century

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill scripture),” I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. John 19: 28-29

I am the thirsty one who longs for the new wine of the kingdom of God
Once I filled the stone jars at the wedding of Cana with this rich elixir
So the guests of the bride and the guests of the bridegroom
Might savor this heavenly fermentation of the vine
Becoming drunk upon its sweetness
I am the thirsty one who longs for the inauguration of the royal banquet of resurrection
The dawning of the new age that comes with the rising of the Son of Man
But until that dawn arrive I sit suspended on the hill of death under the blackened sun
Waiting for the long night of death which will only end when light creeps above the horizon
On the first day of the new creation
I am the thirsty one whose disciples vied for the places of honor at the coming of the kingdom
Wanting to sit upon the right and the left
To drink of my cup and to endure the baptism which I must bear
Yet, at its initiation it is two bandits who occupy the places of honor in this place of shame
They will be the first to see the gates of heaven open to them beyond this terrestrial hell
I am the thirsty one who inaugurated the feast which is a foretaste of the feast to come
I could occupy the places of honor at the royal banquet
With cupbearers longing for the honor of tasting my wine and ensuring the quality of my meal
Yet, for their king they gave me poison to eat and vinegar to drink
And only the enemy soldier extends the stick filled with sour vinegar which might wet my lips
But does nothing to quench the thirst within
I am the thirsty one who becomes the door to enter into the halls of God
Through which the righteous must pass
The Passover lamb that was slaughtered and whose blood was lifted up upon branches of hyssop
To coat the doorpost and the lintel so that the angel of death might not pass beyond its boundary
And to preserve those who pass through and lead them to life
I am the thirsty one that is the vine upon which the fruit of the kingdom grows and flourishes
Many branches will be grafted into me to feed upon my life and to grow out of my love
In them the grapes will grow sweet and juicy ready to bring joy and celebration to the earth
Their fruit will be the harvest that produces the never ending drink for the kingdom
So that in every season and the nations of the earth might be refreshed

Neil White, 2016

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