On Good Friday

Poetry is often the way into mystery. Poetry challenges as much as it informs. Poetry questions—especially in its declarations—in ways that a prose sentence like this cannot

This Good Friday, in quiet and meditation, I was introduced to R.S. Thomas: “the Welsh poet and Anglican priest who died a little more than a decade ago, [leaving] a body of work that is slowly becoming recognized as among the best and most important religious poetry of the twentieth century.”

“His is, in many ways, an appropriate poetry for Good Friday, exemplified by his emblematic but enigmatic phrase, “The cross is always avant garde.” The line is from The Echoes Return Slow, a long autobiographical piece written in alternating pages of prose and poetry, and it suggests that for Thomas the cross always goes before us, and it presents a radical challenge to any easy resolution of the tough questions of faith.”

Rather than tell you what I read and what difference it made within (actually, the poetry quoted in the essay continues to make a difference within me) I commend the article to you for your own reading. Let the author’s essay and the quoted poetry of R.S. Thomas inform your own meditation this Good Friday.

Read: R.S. Thomas: Poet of the Cross by David E. Anderson on the Religion & Ethics Newsweekly website

Image: Crucifix by Eric Gill c. 1913 used in the Religion & Ethics article

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