My brother, listen, do not be afraid.
I have descended into Hell to talk
About forgiveness. Yes, Pilate, with you.
With others too – with everyone who’s here.
But you first. Even Judas, my old friend,
Must wait a while for me. We have a while;
The sempiternal agony of Hell
Exists outside of human history.
Souls killed in every century are here
Millennia before and after you.
You stand among those millions who share
An everlasting sentence for the crime
Of “just doing your job.” Your job killed me.
Your job ripped my skin open with a lash
And drove me, bleeding, shambling up the hill
Where your job drove an eight inch iron spike
Through each hand and each foot, and hoisted me
Towards the sky and left me there for hours
To slowly suffocate. You did your job
To many more like me. Their names were all
Forgotten as they rotted on the cross
Unburied. Hell is teeming with the souls
Who did their job, who served the empire well –
Not just your empire, all the ones that rose
And fell, before and after your own Rome’s.
You asked me once what truth is. That is it.
That is the truth about your whole life’s work.
You know this and it sears worse than the flames.
But that is not why I descended here.
I’m here about forgiveness. Listen. Please.
In the beginning was the Word of God.
That’s me. Like you, I had a job to do.
By me all things were made, and without me
Was nothing that was made. The universe
Was my life’s work, the empire that I served.
My father’s will for Mankind was my law.
One act of disobedience was enough
To sentence every one of you to death.
I did my job, and did it thoroughly:
The hands that made the stars built every tomb.
They sculpted tumors, planted neat rows
Of plagues in human lungs and skin and guts,
Conducted rousing symphonies of storms,
Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, and wrote
In stone: if you survive all this, the time itself
Will kill you. Yet this law, My Father’s Law,
No – our law, I share blame for it – forbade
The dead to die. Infinities of pain,
We gave as punishments for finite crimes.
My father made me judge, and I looked down
On human beings. I saw their sinfulness
And built sparse Heaven and a crowded Hell.
I thought this law was justice ‘til the day
I learned what it is like to be condemned.
Pontius, I have no right to punish you.
I killed you. I killed everyone you loved.
I tortured you, but this ends here. You’re free.
All Hell breaks out today. I will not judge.
From now on, I refuse to do my job.
I am not Christ the King. I abdicate.
How you repay your debt to those you killed
Is your own cross to carry – they decide
Whether they will forgive you when you meet
In Paradise. And Pontius, I forgive
You for my death, of course. How could I not?
But I’m not here to tell you that, I’m here
To ask, to plead, for what I don’t deserve
From everyone in Hell, but first from you.
Brother, when we last met I said to you
That you would have no power over me
Were it not given from above, but now
I bow my head, give power from below.
I beg you for the one gift only you
Can give me: I have sinned against you, please
Brother, can you – will you – forgive my sins?
#Christianity #poetry #that one post with the thing #hell cw #death cw #murder cw #illness tw