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it still sheds rough-hewn splinters
shining with the blood
of human prejudice,
turned and bent,
painted in black
on a red and white banner.

it still heats an angry mob
clad in pure
white hoods
standing in a yard,
set ablaze by the fire
of fear and hate.

it still holds a man stretched,
now in burnished bronze
or polished marble,
hung on our walls
and kept frozen
in dead faith.

yet, it still bears life,
a bloody, skin-shredded back pressed
against dirty beams, His bones
and veins ruptured with rusted spikes
driven by the exchange
of pain for healing, death for life.

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“…by His wounds we are healed.” (isaiah 53:5)

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