Sonnets on the Sayings from the Cross

As a lead up to both NaPoWriMo and, more importantly, Easter, Doug Jackson offers up a sonnet a day for Holy Week. Each sonnet provides a reflection on the last words of Christ before his death. May these sonnets serve as traveling companions as you meditate this week on the meaning of the cross.

Image by Gavin Mills via
Image by Gavin Mills via

The First Word

By Doug Jackson

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Forgive them, Lord, they know not what they do.
Still, what they do can never be undone.
These handholds hoist eternal life in view,
Yet broken flesh bleeds at th’ eternal throne.
These bodies that they break and mark and mar,
Like mine they gash in lustful ignorance,
Not knowing that Your form they blear and sear,
The unique tree dried up in fruitlessness.
While all will be forgiven, none will know
What would have come had sin not carved its name
Upon Your work. Uprooted seed can’t grow,
And what is gone is gone for good away.
And yet for these within your courts I claim
A place, a future, and a better name.


Doug Jackson is a preacher/professor/poet who after a quarter-century in the pastorate now teaches spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, and Greek for the Logsdon Seminary program at the South Texas School of Christian Studies in Corpus Christi. His collection of poetry, Nothing There is Not More, is available from Finishing Line Press.


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