Yes, I know Yom Kippur is over. I know it well. In fact, I have a sore lower back from sleeping on a mild slope in our tent last night as we celebrate Sukkot by camping out together here in Atlanta. Oy, the first night sleeping somewhere other than my Tempur-pedic bed is always the worst.
Anyway, I wrote the monologue below to use in our Yom Kippur service as part of the worship. I think sometimes a little drama helps add to our sense of wonder at all that God has done.
They’re coming for me soon. This is the end. Mother, wherever you are, please pray for your son. God, wherever you are, I never served you. I sinned against you. Will you help me now? Will you even help me now?
Here they are now, and they have two others. Two others to share my miserable fate. What have they done? Were they as wicked as me? Did they rob old men and scare old ladies? Did their swords taste flesh and blood and end the lives of men like mine did?
O God in heaven, they’ve already tortured one. He looks hardly alive. What cruelty is this?
Oh, now it’s the walk, the walk of shame. Look at the crowds. I had no idea there’d be so many. It’s Passover, that’s why. So many to see me die. So many to see my shame.
Look at them crying over him. Look at others spitting at him. They barely see me. This tortured one, he must be famous. He’s saying something to those women. What? When the wood is green? What’s this?
Here is our burden to carry. It’s heavy but it must be worse for him. How can he go on? Who is this man? What did he do?
On and on, my shoulders ache. My legs want to fold. Look, someone is being forced to help that man. He fell and couldn’t rise. The whip has barely fallen on my back, thanks to him. Whoever he is, I’m suffering less because of him.
O God in heaven, there’s the hill. Death is at my door, such a death.
O Lord, they’re forcing me on the ground. On my back. How will I bear this? O God, look at the nails. No, no, no . . .
. . .
O Lord, they’ve torn the manhood from me. They’ve destroyed me with nails and wood. O God, they’re lifting me up. Aaaaahhhh, it’s stretching me.
Who is this man? This man beside me. The sign says “King of the Jews.” Who is this?
Look how they mock him. The other crucified one, he mocks too. But there’s something different. Lord, who is this man? O Lord, my time has come. I deserve what I receive. But what of this man? He can’t be wicked like me. Look at him.
They mock him and he doesn’t show hate. He bears his pain in quiet weakness that seems strength. Who is this?
They’re asking him if he is the Messiah. O God, how cruel, they’re asking if he can save himself.
O God, I think you’re here. I know it . . . somehow. It’s this man. Who is he?
I have to say something. HEY YOU, YOU THIEF LIKE ME, YOU MURDERER AND LIAR, LEAVE HIM ALONE. DO YOU NOT FEAR GOD, SINCE YOU ARE CONDEMNED LIKE ME? WE DESERVE WHAT WE GET, BUT WHAT OF HIM? CAN’T YOU SEE IT? THIS MAN HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG.
Oh . . . hard to breathe . . . hard to talk. He’s looking at me. What’s his name? I think I heard it . . . Yeshua.
YESHUA, WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM, PLEASE REMEMBER ME.
There I said it. Wait . . . he’s trying to speak. He has so little life left in him. Please God let me hear it. Please God.
He said it. He said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
O God, paradise. The King of the Jews. Messiah. He said so. You heard him God. Let it be so.
. . .
O God, the pain, I can’t breathe. I will give up my last breath soon.
The king, he’s dead. He died fast. Soon they’ll break my legs. Soon I will breathe my last.
BUT LORD, I HEARD. THE KING SAID IT, MESSIAH, HE PROMISED. PARADISE. PARADISE. PARADISE IS COMING SOON.