Agnus Dei

Agnus dei
(Lu 22.39-46; Heb. 5.1-9.28)

However white the wool, however spotless
no lamb nor goat can yield up blood to cleanse;
for blood, once spilled, grows thick and sticky yet smooth
to smear; it sets a stain indelibly.
If lamb’s blood cannot cleanse, then why would human?
Yet Jesus, we are told, once sweated blood
and pleaded with his Father: ‘If it be
your will then lift this blood-cup from me; your will, not mine,
be done.’

The Lord in his celestial holy
of holies wanted Jesus as both priest
and lamb to make one perfect sacrifice,
tortured his son as once both Abraham
and Isaac, this time without release, without
the ram caught in the thicket by his horns.
Somehow the blood of human sacrifice
that thickens on his limbs and cross is said
to wash us clean before the Lord, a just
necessity. Not all the oceans’ waters
can wash away that dark nor drown the stench.