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                                       A work in progress

                            The Epic of Jesus the Christ

(We've had epics in the past that tell of heroic deeds of men and demigods of myth, the earliest sung by poets. In Western literature there's the Iliad and the Odyssey which scholars believe were composed by a blind Greek poet Homer. His work served as a model for later writers. Greek and Roman literary critics laid down rules based on Homer, which included an invocation, a dignified style and a placement called in media res (in the middle of things―it didn't begin at the beginning).

The French had an epic called Song of Roland; the English, Beowulf; the Spanish, Poem of El Cid; and the Germans, the Nibelungenlied (lied = a song).   There's others such as Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost.  Here's an effort to compose an epic about the greatest hero of all time, The One Who truly deserves an epic!)

                                                   * * * * * *

Sing of Jesus The Christ, in story,
Of His Sacrifice and His Glory!  
Yes, sing we frailed beings,
With our veiled eyes in seeing...

He suffered pain for our sake,
On the Cross the hurt and ache:
See Him not, as a demigod of myth,
But as The God, our nature with.

He could've commanded heavenly legions,
While here He dwelt in earthly regions.   
His was a noble life,
And died a heroic sacrifice.  
In Greek the Christos, "the anointed one,"
The Light of the World, God the Son.

His coming down to earth was necessitated by the predicament brought about by Adam and Eve, the first of human beings. While Eve was instrumental in what had happened, Adam represented and stood for the race, and made a deciding choice for humankind: for their progeny.   Sadly, he disobeyed and its consequences have fallen on us, something akin a rich man who loses his wealth, and no longer has it it to bequeath to his descendants.

Creation
It's beyond our understanding,
How something comes from nothingness;
But for God, His will commanding: 
It becomes existent, nothing less.

What He's bidden forth in being,
Are all the creatures that we are seeing:
All those visible unto our sight,
And those invisible,
                     they show His might.

With threads sewn unseen,
A body's knit unto a soul:
The two, with naught between,
Together they form a whole.

And as God doth bind,
We become our kind.

The creation of Adam, was when
Our earthly race began,
From that moment, then,
Upon the earth came man.

While Adam came from the dust of earth,
Eve differ'd, in her way of birth:
From Adam's rib, God did fashion her,
From that part of him, did she bestir.

From the body's protective bone
That shields the inner us, and heart,
From that costal part, his own,
Came woman at her very start.

From Hebrew ish for man, came woman, isha:
And the woman created thus, was called this: Eva.

And there at the human dawn,
From Adam she was drawn.

Adam said of her, so fresh and pristine pure,
She's "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,"
Her beauty did Adam's eye allure,
And she caught his heart as if in mesh.

Eve was created a helpmate to be ,
With intellect, and will made free,
The two genders God designed,
The pattern fore'er for all our kind.

She was a creature very like his own!
And no longer was Adam, a human alone.
The two were set a task to obey:
Eat not of a certain fruit, the Lord did say.

The Fall from Grace

Alas, O woe!
For all our kind
There lurked a peril so,
Upon a limb, entwined!

When humanity had just begun,
A serpent spoke with forked tongue!
With cunning, sin it sought to enlace
And knot it to, the human race.

The reptile would the woman deceive:
Misleading her mind, to misperceive;
And with fruit tempted her, her appetite to sate,
Alas, sadly, the fruit the woman ate.

She gave to Adam the forbidden fruit,
And their life of spirit, wither'd at root.

From what had taken place,
Forsaken they were of grace!
The grace to sanctify,
Away from them did fly!

And now, they would die.

And that wily serpent tongue,
It spoke to her in lie;
And nigh the fruit there hung,
He tempted through her eye...

That day in Paradise,
She should've looked away...
When sin he did disguise
And led her and Adam astray!

In Adam, God had breathed his life in breath,
But now
his nostril, did scent the smoke of death.

Like
the fruit of a tree, there fallen to earth and spoiled,
With Adam our nature fell, and fallen
was besoiled;
The serpent
took delight, whilst on the tree it coiled.

Lo Adam could've been fore'er a saint,
But his sin did him and his progeny taint!

O attend, Adam decided for the species,
When he disobeyed God's catecheses.
Alas, his fallen nature we inherit,
And his legacy lost, we must bear it.

'Twas impossible for finite man,
To repair for this offense:
To bridge an infinite span,
So great, and so immense!

The Need of a Redeemer

Still man, would need atone.
Yet truly, only God alone,
Could suffice to satisfy...
He'd come from Heaven's height so high,
To join our race with infinite worth,
And mend our plight, down here on earth.

The angel Gabriel was assigned
A special mission to our kind;
His
plumes winged down to her so Blest,
To a Galilean town, at God's behest.

The town by the name was Nazareth,
He spoke forth his words with angelic breath,
Announcing the Messiah to the Virgin Mary:
That the Son of God she' d conceive and carry.

It was like a trumpet's clarion call,
That echoes
down through the ages all!

When Mary understood what she'd heard,
She said, Be it done according to thy word.
And in her, a mortal she,
Into this world, He came to be.

Our Embryonic Lord
And God's own Fetal Son,
Once tied by maternal cord
To her, the Immaculate One.

He was given the name of Jesus,
―A name forever to please us!

As Eve was instrumental in the Fall,
So Mary was instrumental to save us all.

The Holy Infant's Born

In Bethlehem He was humbly born,
By sheep whose wooly coats are shorn;
He was wrapped, this swaddled Lamb of God,
Imagine him there with feet unshod.

He was laid in a manger where animals fed 1.
Prefiguring the Eucharist yet to come!
There laid upon a humble bed,
Yet a King, the eternal from!

Like the rays of sun that pass,
Through the purest of window glass...
He traversed His mother in such a way,
That a virgin birth, in honor we say.

Like through a Nativity window,
In a hushed and holy place,
Appear'd the Savior Whom we know,
His Light ashine with holy Grace.

Perhaps on barley straw, He'd lain,
And with slender stems of winnowed wheat;
And kernels few of clinging grain
―This fodder, a Royal throne and seat.

The wise men came on camel beast;
These travellers of ancient road,
They came from somewhere East,
And found the King, and gifts bestowed:
Lo, on Him they did confer
:
Gold and frankincense and myrrh.

They thought the Child surely great,
For such a trip to contemplate.
They'd followed a shining star,
And journeyed from land afar

As an infant He felt the cold to shoulder
In a cave with cloudlets of animal breath.
As God He knew, when He was older,
He'd undergo a Passion to death.
His suffering, fore'er in divine view
Of what He would endure and go through.

At Home with His Family

Upon Him the universe doth depend,
Yet upon His mother He trusts His needs;
For Himself He could verily fend,
Yet on His mother's milk He feeds.

And then from Joseph's labor, they'd trade
For grain to bake a barley bread;
With honey to sweeten the morsels made,
To put to mouth, where Truth be fed,
                         ―and where truth be said.

Presenting Him in the Temple

They took him to Jerusalem, where
They presented Him in the Temple there:
An elderly man named Simeon
,
Devout and just, the Spirit upon
,

Came into the temple, inspired in mind,
And did the Lord, the Christus find.

He took Jesus in his arms, and God he blessed.
My eyes have salvation seen, he confessed;
The parents marveled at what they heard,
His prophecies spoken in priestly word:
A light to the Gentiles, his lips did tell
And glory for the people Israel.

Yet Simeon also foretold the friction
That would arise from contradiction.
He Mary told, the Mother of the Lord,
That pierced would be her heart by sword.

The Mosaic Law to accord,
They'd offered two pigeons or a pair of dove.
Poor they were
, to no more afford,
Yet rich with the One from up above.

Jesus Grows

Under the eyes of hearts so true,
Of Joseph and Mary, their Jesus grew:
His parents joyed when He first spoke
And at His smile when He awoke.

They witness when He tries
To catch a bird He sees;
And see the bird as up it flies,
As He crawls upon His knees.

As time goes on, a step He'll take,
And more and more the effort make.

A stone in His path to stumble on,
They'd show Him how to step around,
And dirt in clods that crumble on,
That turn to dust on earthen ground.

As a Boy and Young Man

As Jesus older and taller grew
He'd watch as Joseph fashion'd a plow,
To furrow the soil to break it through:
He watched as Joseph worked and how.

When He began to take up a tool,
He was truly in a carpenter's school.

He sawed in Joseph's shop,
With dust a-falling from the wood;
With an axe He'd hew and chop,
Its chips flew nigh to where He stood:
And from a chisel He did wield,
Fell shavings from the wood He peeled.

All of His life, 'twas wood He faced:
And alas on that! He would be placed.

To Jerusalem at Age Twelve

I
n Joseph's shop He handles did helve,
But another task He ponder'd of...
When in Jerusalem, at age of Twelve,
The business of His Father above.

So He stayed behind,
His Father's Will in mind.

His parents missed Him, homeward bound,
And returned in sorrow to find their boy;
After three days, in the temple He was found;
Their tears, then turned to joy...

Conversing with the teachers wise,
Who marveled at Him,
before their eyes.

Even though His parents felt sad,
In staying back He
did naught bad:
But rather the task of heavenly Father!
Yet, loath to cause His parents bother:
He went with Joseph and Mary home,
And dwelt with them in Hebrew Shalom.

Baptized as a Man

John the Baptist stood in the Jordan flow,
A penitent's baptism to bestow.

Lo, Jesus came from Galilee
And at the river, John with Jesus pled:
The baptism ought be done by thee
But Jesus hindered him, instead...
For the sake of justice, let it be.

Then obeying Jesus, John
Poured water Him upon.

And after the water was poured,
The Spirit descended upon Our Lord:
In coming down from up above,
He alighted in the form of dove.

And Heaven's portal did ope
O'er Jordan's flowing stream;
It was a sign of hope,
For us who Heaven dream.

The Father spoke that day,
And
did from Heaven say:
Thou art My Beloved Son
In Whom I am well pleased:
Thus, was manifest the Triune One!
Not mythic,
like the Hesperides...

Of Grecian tale, the daughters of the eve,
Said oft to live beyond the set of sun
And golden apples guard from those who'd thieve...
But not in myth, is the Trinity One!

At the Jordan baptizing there,
We may in history compare
To yet another Scriptural event:
When the Jordan was parted and pent,
And downstream its water went:
When Joshua crossed to the Promised Land.
With John, Jesus parted the Jordan flow,
And showed our way to the Promised Strand.
As the water broke around Him so

His Work with Disciples

John told his disciples "Behold the Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world!"
They followed the Savior, sandal-shod,
His work with others, being now unfurled.

And passing by the inland sea,
The shore awash of Galilee,
He saw Peter and Andrew casting net,
And spoke to these with seine He met
"Come, follow me, I'll make you fishers of men,"
And farther on
brethren He invited again:

He saw John and James, the Sons of Zebedee,
Who were at their nets,
the cords a-mending
T
hey were, two more Apostles to be,
To Jesus follow, nets no longer tending.

The Wedding of Cana

Jesus and His disciples came
To
Cana, the Feast of Wedding fame:
And Mary said to Him, "They have no wine."
The Lord replied the hour's not mine;
Yet something transpired between the two;
She told th
e attendants:
         W
hate'er He tells you, do.

Imagine that her eyes did there impart,
What was present in her maternal heart.
And then, He permitted her to intercede:
To do a wonder
, He then agreed.

Jesus said, the jars with water fill:
They poured the liquid, inside to spill
And filled the vessels unto the brim
―Obeying the Lord, the word of Him.

And He said to them, draw out,
From the jars that stood about,
And carry some to the steward chief:
A cup that began with her belief. 

The steward knew not the source,
But t
he waiters knew, of course!

And when the steward had tasted the wine,
He said everyone serves the better first
;
He told the groom, not so with thine;
You've
kept the best till now,  
                                             for thirst
.

Lo, that which tasted so fine!
The order seemed reversed.
The flavor of the purpled vine
From the ripen'd grape that burst.

Then, He changed the water to wine!
But now, to the Blood of The Sacrificed:
When we at Holy Communion dine,
The wine becomes the Blood of Christ!

The wine, the steward's tongue made wetter,
And pleasured him with its vinted flavor;
At Mass
it becomes Infinitely better
The  Precious Blood, for us to savor.

          His Redemptive Role

He was human born, for our sake,
For saving the world, He enter'd in:
A Redemptive path He would take,
To live, to suffer and die for sin.

In a world, where illness fell and evil lurked,
Christ went about doing good
                                        and miracles worked.

The Death of John the Baptist

And it came to pass that this occurred
And heard, alas, in the spoken word.


The Baptist who preached repentance of sin,
The son of His mother's cousin kin,
Was slain by Herod, in an awful fate,
His
head was severed and placed on plate;
Yes, John the one who went before,
Was victim
to blade and butcher's gore.

The voice of one who cried in the desert,
Was stilled,
to cry no more.
And to a desert place
, apart,
The Lord withdrew, to a farther shore.

In a boat upon the sea,
He crossed
the Galilee.

Twelve Loaves and Two Fishes

Because of the sick He cured.
To where He landed, many were lured,
They came by foot
, the sea around,
To seek
Him, and Him they found.

A miracle would happen that day
When those who followed did amass;
And Jesus bid that they, 
Recline there upon the grass.

And when the time grew late,
And the number gathered great;
Besides the women and child
ren, in ken,
The
y counted about five thousand men.

They only had five loaves and two fishes,
Not enough to fill the
ir hungry wishes.
Christ looked to heaven,
               blessing and breaking the bread:
And multiplying these, He the people fed.

And
having eaten, multitude were sate,
As twelve baskets
were left, from what they ate.

The Transfiguration

He took the disciples up the mountain to pray
Where the Testament New would see the Old;
Elijah and Moses met with Jesus that day,
The hereafter the Apostles did behold.

"His face shone as the sun," so bright,
His garments like snow, so white.

And for those that Peter did see,
He wished to make a tent for the three
But his request was not allowed,
And they were enveloped in a cloud.

Transfigured, Jesus stood the worlds astride,
While the others stayed,
to each their side.

In an unsettled kind of way,
We're like nomads upon the land;
We're not here forever to stay,
But are bound to heaven's strand.
Not here to always abide
But created for the other side.

Agony in the Garden

Undergoing the Agony in the Garden,
He suffer'd for our sake and pardon;
From His pores His brow was ruddy wet;
His Blood, it mingled with His sweat.

And olives grew in this garden soil,
Gethsemane
in the Aramaic tongue,
A name which means a press for oil;
Suggesting how His Blood was wrung
        From His Body, so greatly under stress,
Its vessels squeezed, as in a press.

In agony
Jesus shed His precious Blood,
When fallen it formed a reddish mud,
Appearing like the color, the hue of rust;
O
joy, if It touches us,
                                       O we of earthly dust.

He sweat to make up for Adam's deed,
And for us, O we of Adam's seed;
Not only for
our sin but that of kin:
For all of us since Eden's been.

And kneeling
down, He fell to the ground;
He  prayed, the Father's will be done.
O let us so incline, and so be found,
That the Father's will and ours be one.

To Him all knees should bend,
All heads should humbly bow...
He suffered in this world to mend,
For those gone and the living now.

From Gethsemane they
took Him away,
Like a beast to market, there to slay;
He met His captors, and
for our sake,
He
them allowed, Him to take.

With their torches afire in flame,
They
seized the Nazarene in name;
Who
m Judas did betray,
With a kiss in
the dark of day.


The Scourging at the Pillar

They swung their whips, the Lord did thresh;
With their terrible scourges they ripp'd! His Flesh.
His Pure and Sacred body they tore,
And Blood came forth, now more than pore.

If thongs were tipped with metal or bone, 2.
The whip would rip the dermal
unsewn;
And drawn like a rake across the skin,
It'd furrow the flesh--a harrow
of sin.

Yet, God uses what's torn, such terrible tillage,
To harvest grace,
for ev'ry land, and village.

Lo, those who pursue the sins of the flesh,
In the scourging of Jesus, themselves enmesh;
And those who
'd support such sensual sin,
Will find that the scourge, their hand is in.

Today's abortion is human barbarity!
It lacks in love and lumens of clarity.
It's woven in the whip of a permissive hand
Of those who support it across the land!

Crowning with Thorns

They crowned Him with thorns of pain:
A headache e'en worse than one's migraine.
The thorns may've pierced the skull of the Lord,
If so, the cranium bone they gored!

O sharpish crown, without any jewel!
Yet
, drops of Blood from out His head,
From thorns that
pierce and hurt so cruel,
There came a precious gems in red...

O Rub
ies of infinite worth!
Each jewel valued even more,
Than all the treasure
on earth,
And all the amber washed ashore.

The thorns, we may liken to nail,
They pierce
d His head, as they impale!

The Carrying of the Cross

He carried the weight of the Cross one day,
Up Calvary hill, where Him they'd slay;
Upon His shoulder its wood He heft ,
And
upon it, a Bloody stain was left.

The bite in the fruit in the midst of the Garden,
It left the bitter, terrible taste of the Fall;
But the bite in the Fruit of the Womb brought pardon:
The bite of the Cross, brought sweetness for all.
--For us to savor through all eternity,
His favor
for us through Mary's maternity.

Jesus weaken'd, and under His burden fell;
A passer-by, one Simon of Cyrene,
They compelled, to carry the Cross as well,
As he
walked the way of the Nazarene.

The Sacred drops of Blood He shed..
They fell, where His burden'd Body bled;
It's accounted a
lady Seraphia, without fail,
Did wipe His
bleeding face with her veil...

She's known as Veronica in Christian lore,
From the phrase vera icon--an "image true":
The Suffering Face of Him to adore,
And on the Cross, He was fixed thereto.

The Crucifixion

They drove the piercing nails in each limb: 
Into His hands, amid the carpels of wrist,
3.

And lower, spikes into the feet of Him!
Thus He suffer'd, that we'd fore'er be blissed.
Such cruelty
upon His body He felt!
Alas, our sin with Him so dealt.

They fastened Him to a Cross of wood
Which on the hill of Calvary stood;
In His body with flesh o'er skeletal bone,
He suffered
so much, for sin to atone...
Each nail, its metal, in
to Christ it sticks
And holds Him fast, there crucifixed!

The Wheaten Grain, beaten, now made grist
Lo baked into the Bread of His Presence!
Yea, Jesus the Christ Who hung by wrist,
To obtain for us, the Heavenly Essence.

Against the Cross of wood, rough hewn,
His Blood was smeared and ruddily strewn
.
His wounded torso rubbed
It on the wood
And where His nailed feet there stood.

He gasped for air to draw His breath,
As the sands of time counted to death.

He uttered these words, His last:
"Father into Thy hands I commend my Spirit,"
Like a mariner asea, calling avast!
He said it aloud, they could hear it.

His Infinite Being, now did suffice!
As Jesus died and paid a great price,

A darkness sh
rouded the land,
And beneath the Cross there mourning,
Were the women and John at hand,
As Redemption was aborning.

They took Him down from where He hung
And lovingly
wrapt Him in linen cloth:
Bereft of spirit, the dead among,
Around they
enwound each linen swath

With the fabric, flaxen made,
He was wrapt with aloes and myrrh;
And the women saw where He was laid,
Where His body they did inter.

His Resurrection

He'd come forth in life, from His mother's womb,
And now came forth, from another's tomb,
A sepulchre
cut in rock, for Joseph of Arimathia,
A secret disciple, from the province
called Judea.

The women at the tomb assembled,
To anoint
Him with spices at the dawn of day;
The earth
was disturbed, it quaked and trembled.
And an angel rolled the stone away!

Two men in dazzling raiment, spoke to them, and said
"Why do you seek the Living One among the dead?
He isn't here..." He's risen and goes before thee,
And there the Lord you shall see in Galilee..

The guards went to tell the chief priests
What had happened in their sight;
The
y were given money to say: The Deceased,
Was stolen by
the disciples during the night.

This falseness, then was spread,
From what the priests had said!

But Jesus appeared to some He knew,
Thus proving His Resurrection true.

Road to Emmaus

On the road to Emmaus, Christ was walking
A
s were two disciples, together talking;
Coming up to them, He their conversing  heard
And asked about their exchange of word.

They'd spoken of the events that'd taken place,
Their eyes being held, and didn't recognize His face.
He interpreted for them the Scripture story:
That Christ'd suffer before He'd come to glory.

As it was growing late in the day,
They bid Him tarry, and with them
to stay;
At the meal, He blessed and broke the Bread
;
They knew Him then, The Risen from
the Dead!

Appearing to Others

For fear of Jews, the disciples were shut in a room;
The doors were locked, a
nd entry could not assume.
Yet,
unhinder'd, Jesus passed through to the inside,
Like light through glass,
to where they did bide.

He appear'd to eleven at table,
Upbraiding them for lack of belief,
That He'd arisen was no
t a fable,
Nor was He
stolen away by thief.

Christ in the World

He endured suff'ring to us Redeem;
And we owe Him so much of our Esteem.

To live in heavenly bliss with Him,
With the angels
, the blessed and Seraphim;
Which is our eternal destiny,
That Jesus wrought, for our life to be.

No greater Hero has e'er there been,
Within this world so great and wide,
H
is sojourn on earth, was for the sake of men,
Tha
t in lasting joy, they  may abide.

                                                                   ―John Riedell

1. Manger in French means "to eat," e.g., Je veux manger means "I want to eat."  Manger in Engish to is a place or trough where livestock are fed.   On the farm where I grew up we had a long manger in front of the stanchions where the cows were held in place for milking.

2. The Roman flagrum was a short whip with several leather thongs with pieces of metal or bone which beat into the flesh.  

3. The hand is made up of wrist (carpus), the palm proper (metcarpus), and the digits, (four fingers and thumb). The heel of the hand, closest to the bones of the forearm, consists of the eight carpal bones. Here the ligaments are stronger than in the middle of the palm, where it's believed the nail would tear through. Within the carpal bones is a space, where "most medical experts claim that the nails were placed."

 

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