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The Agonie

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A man sits alone on a hillside; his dearest friends, overcome with exhaustion, slumber peaceably nearby. His breath is ragged and his garments soaked with perspiration. The sweat on his brow glistens a crimson hue. I listen closely and hear words of a desperate soul pleading for mercy, a cry begging for a way out. His knit brow slowly relaxes as if a great inner struggle has come to peace, yet his body remains visibly tense.
Through the trees I spy a flickering light, a light of a torch. This light grows and multiplies until its offspring number more than what is possible to count in one glance. The lights dance through the branches approaching the solitary man. His comrades suddenly stir as the sound of footfalls break into their slumber and they fumble to their feet.
The mob has picked its way through the garden and stops a short distance from the man and his nervous followers. A lone figure takes a step out from the crowd and approaches the man plagued with the worries of the world.
“Rabbi!” the member of the mob exclaims and kisses the man. I watch amazed as he is brutally bound and led away, once again alone in the world.

I wake up from my dream and find myself 2000 years into the future. My heart is burdened because of the scenes that have filled my vision. I know now the name of the man who was sitting on the hill. His name is Jesus. I know the hill is named Olivet. I know the kiss given by a man called Judas was a signal of ultimate betrayal. I know the story continues as a tale of unspeakable torture, of indescribable agony, of innocent blood poured out, and of unequaled love.

My heart searches for meaning, for something to grasp so that I do not fall into the depths of remorse. The cause for my soul’s descent into the deep abyss of despair is the presence of one figure: my own face stands out from among the crowd. Tears stream down my face as I watch my own hand fly out and make vicious contact with the man’s cheek. I watch in horror as my arm flexes with each swing of the whip. My soul is in agony as my own voice screams out insults as the man struggles to scale Golgotha. I shy away in terror as the earth shudders and the man cries “It is finished”. Accompanying the darkness that has overtaken the sky, darkness overtakes my heart. A realization of my deeds throws me to my knees in anguish as I study the hammer in my hands, bloodied by the man’s wrists. My own agony is complete as I kneel at the foot of a wooden cross and watch the Messiah breathe his last. With my head in my hands I tremble as I remember the deeds of my bloody hands.

Out of the grief rises a fleeting thought of hope. I recall the story’s end. This Jesus gave me the ultimate gift, the gift of unrequited life. He traded his life for mine; my punishment became his sacrifice. My mind grapples desperately for an understanding of this gift yet falls infinitely short. The immensity of his selfless love bores into my chest, splitting my soul, filling its blackness with painful light. Now face down on the ground, I realize it is my turn to die and my own ragged, filthy heart beats slowly for the last time. A moment of unfathomable stillness follows and then I feel life returning to my limbs. The energy pulsing through my veins is not my own; it is His; it is the life of Jesus himself filling me from the inside out. Yet it is not just life that floods my soul, it is love itself, made perfect through the Agonie.





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banana said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm
there are truly no words to describe the beauty of this piece. one of the best articles i have read for a very long time.
 
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