A Roman Soldier’s Story
I loved Him not — and yet, I could not hate Him.
I was a ROMAN…He was but a Jew.
Yet, there He hung, and agonized for others.
Was ever love of MAN so pure and true?
Upon the cross between two thieves they hung Him.
(And now, my stylus falters as I write —
For I must stand and see His awful anguish;
Must watch the daytime turn to darkest night).
One thief cried out, “If thou be Lord, then save us!”
The other looked at Him with glazing eyes,
And said, “Remember me, Lord, in Thy kingdom.”
Christ said, “Today, thou’lt be in Paradise.”
The hours dragged on; yet there He hung suspended
‘Twixt Heaven and earth. Ah, ’twas an awful sight!
I’d seen such sights before – I was a soldier –
Yet ne’er before did day become as night.
For three long hours the darkness lay around us;
The rocks were rent and lightning flashed around.
One called, “The veil is rent within the Temple!”
And saints rose from their graves within the ground.
I dared not look…The sky grew darker, darker —
Until it seemed like midnight all around.
And then I cried out, “Stop my ears, O Father!”
For I had heard his blood drip to the ground.
They said to me, “Go pierce His side, proud Roman.”
But ah…my spear hung heavy at my side —
For, once more He had cried out to His Father.
I would that in His place I might have died!
I could not thrust…and so they called another.
The blood and water poured out from His side.
The people smote their breasts and left Golgotha.
I knew then that it was THE CHRIST who died.
His seamless coat lay folded on the ground there.
(They said the lot had fallen unto me.)
With reverent, trembling hands I touched its border,
Then placed it where no human eye could see.
The day grew old. The thieves’ legs had been broken;
And men came now to take our Lord away.
More worthy lips than mine shall tell the story
Of how Christ rose that Resurrection Day.
Mrs. Leo R. Goodwin