The shudder

 The Shudder


Whipped, beaten, nailed, mocked

The disciples shuddered,

Watching what was happening to You.

Yet from penetrating fear that they might be next – 

they ran for their lives.


Lifted high, then dropped into the ground,

Your cross shuddered

and each reverberation

shook Your frame

with indescribable pain.


Head tilted, lungs gasping,

Heaven shuddered

as You cried ‘Where are You, Father?

Don’t abandon Me now!’

A seamless union ripped apart for us.


Watching as her Boy is butchered,

Mary shuddered

as only a mother can

who has lost everything.

Part of her died here too.


Lifted high, then dropped into the ground,

Your cross makes the earth shudder.

For here, at this place, the world is changed

and these reverberations do not cease.

They rip curtains in worn out temples,

push away tiny tonnes of stone

that cannot keep You in.

These shudders break chains,

force open prison doors, destroy arguments,

defeat demons, make death scurry like a rat

Into the hole from whence it came.

These shudders unsettle the settled in their beds,

throw the haughty from their thrones

show the poor that their poverty

is not the issue and is not a bar.


These shudders ripple through the swamp of sin.

They crest upon the might of nations.

They seep into the corridors of power.


These shudders shatter defences,

shake foundations,

re-create creation,

initiate transformation,

usher in our salvation.


These shudders reach into a tiny room

in a chapel in the woods

and pierce the heart

and birth hope

then force us out to

continue the impact.


These shudders are unstoppable.


© Malcolm Duncan, Good Friday 2009.


  1. Hey Marianne – thanks for the comment. By the way – responded to your email but has bounced back twice because of a problem with your server? There is a typo on the document you read and both words should be as you thought ‘now’. You know what I mean!


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