People been spreading libels and slanders about us.
People? What people? Tell me their names and I’ll soon sort ’em.
Ye cannae sort the high and mighty lot and their lies. Us poor folk gotta grin and bear it.
Any road, what’re they saying?
That we changed our tune, that we turned from praising him that day, then howling for his blood a few days later.
We did no such thing.
Yeah, I know that, and you know that, but mud sticks, tha knows.
But we wasn’t even there.
We was there, that first day, when he rode past on that donkey.
That we were. And all cryin’ hosanna.
And wavin’ leafy branches.
Layin’ them on the ground before him as he rode.
Good crack, wasn’t it?
Hot and dusty the road, all the way past our village, all the way into town.
I wanted to give him a swig from me flask, but his followers, them disciples, said to let be.
I’d never been to the city, before that day.
No more had I. Ugly, noisy places, cities.
Yes and we followed behind him, all the way to temple. Guards were fit to be tied.
Damn right. Sabbath were made for man, he said, and the temple was ours, truth to tell.
So guards turned a blind eye.
Well they had to, didn’t they?
We were many, they were few, after all.
Even when he attacked money-changers.
All brass went flyin’.
Birds flutterin’ into air, a right commotion.
A den of thieves, he called it.
He wasn’t far wrong. They’d bar us, most times, cos we’d no brass for collection plate.
Nobbut a mite.
On a good day, a mite. If we’d sold our corn.
If we’d anything left in granary after harvest, and middlemen took their cut.
Whatever happened to Year of Jubilee? That’s what I’d like to know.
Wouldn’t we all, lad? Wouldn’t we all?
They don’t read that bit out of a Sabbath.
He did, though, didn’t he?
That and a whole lot more. No wonder they wanted him topped.
So we went back home, our hearts lifted.
Be honest, I was singing a song. Me that couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, most days.
Things could only get better.
Except they got worse.
Back in village there was chores.
Kine to milk.
Muck to spread.
We went about our business.
So we wasn’t there when he needed us.
When the rich folks’ rent-a-mob was.
City folk, blown about by the wind.
The way I heard it, they just did what they was told to shout.
“Crucify him”. What kind of language is that?
Call theirselves civilised.
It’s not even our custom. Barbaric, nails in the hands and feet, hanging there for crows to pluck.
Doesn’t bear thinking on.
We should have been there.
What could we have done, be fair. A few village folk.
There was hundreds of us, that first day.
A thousand or more, I heard tell.
If we’d stayed in town, instead of going home.
No way, mate. My old lady played war with me as it was. Handed me muck shovel as I walked through the door.
But we should have followed through.
A bit late to say it, now.
Never too late for truth.
Isn’t that what the governor said? “What is truth?”
He was the truth, he said, I heard tell.
And the way.
A lovely lad he was, though, sitting on that donkey.
His eyes fixed on the prize.
Had his moment of doubt and fear, they say.
Well, he was only human, after all.
More than human, I’d say.
Flesh and blood.
Born in a cowshed, amid stink and the flies.
A real man.
Tortured to death.
Now, they’re putting up statues.
And telling lies about him.
And about us.
He stayed faithful, they say.
All his followers ran away.
Except the women.
Yes, well they understand about pain, don’t they, women?
Cursed since Eve, some say.
Tell that to my old lady, she’d skelp yer lug for ye.
I still say we should have been there.
Well, we’re here now, that’s what counts.
Like he is.
Right here, in our hearts.
And the life.
- A new chapter for Witnesses to Glory,
Good Friday, April 18, 2014
How Can It Be?
Words: © Copyright Karl Dallas/EMI Music March 17, 1994.
Tune: Eibhli Gheal Chiún Ni Chearbhaill (Irish traditional)
How can it be
You gave your life for me
And you suffered and died on the cross?
So great was your love
You came down from above
And you traded your gain for our loss!
How can it be?
You died that we
Might be spared from the price of our sin?
Death it was died,
And you gave us a world we can win.
You came as a man
And all of your plan
Was to be what we could become.
The one we adored
Was the Son of the Lord
And we prayed that your Kingdom would come.
Your love never fails
As we hammer the nails
And you cry to your Father: Forgive!
How can we forget?
We remain in your debt
And you gave us a new life to live.
No tongue can tell
The depths of the hell
Where you fought with the devil and won.
Like sands by the sea
Are the names of the free
And each is the Lord’s chosen one.
As far as we fall
Your love pays for all
And all have been bought for a price.
The young and the old,
The timid and bold,
The rich, poor, the foolish and wise.
So with your good grace
We shall soon see your face
As you come back in triumph to reign.
As all bow the knee
Every people will see
The way back to Eden is plain.
Sweet Jesus, our love,
The high-flying dove
Returns with a leaf in her beak.
The rainbow is high
In the arch of the sky
And the earth is returned to the meek.
Jesus our joy,
Our own darling boy!
Eternity praises your name.
The King of all kings
Is a servant who brings
The waters to wash all things clean.
Our joy and delight:
You return to our sight
The broken and battered to mend.
All things pass away
Like night follows day
But your love it never can end.
Your love it never can end.