From an American poet, 1743 years before: The Centurion

 

by Cantinker Moss

 

A song written back around the 1980’s.  A take on the Crucifixion.  What would make a Roman commander of one hundred men say what he did as recorded in both the Gospels of Luke and Matthew?  Righteous Man?  Son of God?  An end?  A beginning?

 

Chorus:  O there once was a centurion,

                His authority he was told was Caesar’s line.

                And he saw a world of oppression,

                From Gaul down to Palestine.

 

Well, he might have heard John the Baptist.

Saying, “Do no violence to a man.

For I tell you, One is coming

Whose fan* is in His hand.”

 

Chorus

 

And he saw them nail Him to the cross wood,

But he wondered why they told Him to come down,

While they ridiculed Him in His torment,

And His bloody, thorny crown.

 

Yet he heard Him say, “Father, forgive them.

They know not what they do (this brutal mob.)”

And maybe that’s the reason the centurion said,

“Truly, This was the Son of God!”

 

Chorus

 

  • Matthew 3:12  (KJV)

 

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From an American poet: Here (Walking With the Master in the Isles of Alexander)

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by Cantinker Moss

 

On a summer’s day

In the Midwest,

I thought

Or dreamed:

 

Side by side we walked

In the Isles of Alexander.

And I said, “What about this?”

And He said,

“My hand carved the sides of the hill called Saint Elias.

The breath of My nostrils made the course of the Yukon.

My voice charged the sun beyond the Near Islands.

And I watch over them now.”

 

Side by side we walked

In the Isles of Alexander.

And I said, “What about these?”

And He said,

“I smile at the birth of the blacktail in the forest.

I shout with the raven, and I sing with the eagle.

I hold in my hands the spruce and the hemlock.

And I watch over them now.”

 

Side by side we walked

In the Isles of Alexander.

And I said, “What about them?”

And He said,

“I made the stars to guide the Tlingit and Inupiat.

I cautioned Pastor Duncan by the shores of Metlakatla.

My face turned grim at the soldier and the shaman. 

My heart hears the cries on Northern Lights Boulevard.”

 

“But son,

Make no mistake:

I told your poet,

‘They also serve, who stand and wait.’*

Serve me wherever

Or whatever date.

And remember, I am yours, and you are Mine

Here.”

 

*John Milton (1608-1674):   They also serve who only stand and wait (1655)

 

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