Years ago, I had a vision. No, it wasn’t a vision like St. Teresa’s ecstasy or St. Joan of Arc’s calling. I don’t presume to be a saint. But it was an unmistakably compelling image of Christ on Good Friday. And I just couldn’t shake it.
It begins in the cool, sharp silence of space overlooking Earth. Noiseless. Peaceful. But deeply cold. In short order would begin the descent. As Earth’s outer atmosphere approaches, there is the faintest sound – the most indistinct whisper (or whispers). The voices, at first, seem harmless and inaudible, but they don’t remain that way. They grow louder, more clear, more insistent. And now, unmistakably, one can hear. The words are harsh and merciless. Evil. Like knives.
Listen. This is what they said.
Anger, Blasphemy, Adultery, Idolatry, Dishonesty, Lust, Disrespect, Disobedience, Pride, Greed, Murder, Hatred, Theft, Gluttony, Bitterness, Envy, Immodesty, Covetousness
With further approach to Earth, the clouds swirl around and landforms emerge. The whispers gain further tone. Angry tone. Several become dozens. Dozens become hundreds, thousands, millions. Bitter, proud, consuming words snap and claw as if from a hellish hive.
Extortion, Gossip, Sloth, Fornication, Hypocrisy, Heresy, Egotism, Self-Deception, Uncleanness, Carelessness, Selfishness, Maliciousness, Presumption, Perjury, Hard-heartedness
It is nearly deafening now. As trees, rocks and hills come into view, the Satanic howl drives any hearers to a point of madness. Cackling, evil glee luxuriates as we fall further and further. Darkness is all around.
Being pressed to the limits of sanity, the ruthless whisper-screams bite and claw their way toward an emerging solitary figure. A man. He is upright, but not of his own accord. Approaching him further, we see him for what he is: Bloody. Bruised. Battered. Broken. Affixed to a rough-hewn cross. And as the murderous voices and words assault and accost, impale and eviscerate him, the man perseveres. He musters residual strength, raises his head and offers One. Last. Gasp.
Usury, Slander, Unbelief, Mercilessness, Sadism, Masochism, Ingratitude, Vanity, Wantonness, Dishonor, Resentment, Self-absorption, Violence, Neglect, Backbiting, Conspiring, Hedonism, Unrighteousness
“It is finished.”