The bright flash of red he poured in their cups, squeezed
from flesh of bursting grapes in proud Judean vineyards,
was wine passed among them for centuries
in joyful celebrations, with dancing and music—
and he called it “my blood.”
And he said, “Remember me.”
Remember me, he surely meant, always,
but also a few hours from then, when they,
humanly drowsy and falling asleep in nature’s night,
cannot help him pray his way free
from the thought of a more terrible cup,
a cup thick and bitter enough to gag on.
Right now, as he hangs by his wounds from a Roman cross,
that’s a cup he might settle for, a cup of anything,
a thimble, a stick to suck. Struggling to cry out
from a swollen throat scorched by God’s anger—
anger not with him who hangs there but with us—
he rasps only two cleave-tongued words: I thirst.
Two words from Immanuel, from “God-with-us,” two words
that are shaped by human flesh. The redemption is heavy—
it comes not by our heavenward flights but by his having
come down. Not the spirituality of humans but the humanity of God.
Well, it’s Friday. Two more days and we can choose
to shout and raise our cups, click our glasses
brimming with full-bodied earthy wines that smack of soul—
miracle wines that sing and make us sing.
—Rod Jellema, © 2010. Used by permission.