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“Jesus Weeps” – A Sonnet for Holy Week by Malcolm Guite

April 14, 2014

I first came across the sonnets of Malcolm Guite a year ago, and am deeply grateful for the gift they have been in my life. Among my favourites are his sonnets for Holy Week and Easter, which I’ll be posting on this blog throughout this week.

Here’s the introduction Malcolm gives the sonnet embedded below, “Jesus Weeps,” on his blog:

It’s hard to see through tears, but sometimes it’s the only way to see, tears can be the turning point, the springs of renewal and to know you have been wept for is to know that you are loved. ‘Jesus Wept’ is the shortest, sharpest, and most moving sentence in Scripture.

I have a God who weeps for me, weeps with me, understands to the depths and from the inside the ‘rerum lachrymae,’ the tears of things.


Jesus weeps

Jesus comes near and he beholds the city

And looks on us with tears in his eyes,

And wells of mercy, streams of love and pity

Flow from the fountain whence all things arise.

He loved us into life and longs to gather

And meet with his beloved face to face.

How often has he called, a careful mother,

And wept for our refusals of his grace,

Wept for a world that, weary with its weeping,

Benumbed and stumbling, turns the other way;

Fatigued compassion is already sleeping

Whilst her worst nightmares stalk the light of day.

But we might waken yet, and face those fears,

If we could see ourselves through Jesus’ tears.


malcom-guiteMalcolm Guite is a poet, priest, and singer-songwriter. This sonnet from his book Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year, and this excerpt from his blog, are reproduced with permission. The first two images in this posting were chosen by Margot Krebs Neale for Malcolm’s blog, and are posted there. On his blog, there’s also an audio recording of his reading this sonnet.


The third picture in this posting is a close-up from the 1435 masterpiece pictured above, “The Descent from the Cross,” by Rogier van der Weyden. The tear is actually from the face of a man, perhaps the Beloved Disciple, who is stooping to assist Jesus’ mother, who has fainted from grief, as Jesus’ body is being taken down from the Cross. Note the similar body positions of Our Lord and Mary. 

Embedded below is a video of the Trisagion, in a chant composed by Georgy Sviridov and performed by the Credo Chamber Choir of Kiev. Those who were at last year’s Trinity Sunday Services may remember that this stirring piece accompanied our viewing of the 1410 Icon of the Holy Trinity pictured below, “Hospitality of Abraham,” by Andrei Rublev. I invite us to remember, as we listen to it, that Our Lord weeps out of love for us.

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