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by Mark Spencer © 1992

The throngs gather at Golgotha,
To watch as His life ends.
But in the crowd I do not see
The twelve who called Him friend.

And still, I cannot understand
Why so many amass;
Demanding He be crucified.
How did this come to pass?

They are cheering His destruction,
As anger builds in me.
If I could only draw my sword,
I'd teach them decency.

I would wade into their numbers,
Until they've been dispersed.
But I am a Centurion,
My duty must come first.

I am ordered to remain here,
I'm charged to keep the peace.
And yet, I have only loathing
For those I must police.

That man who hangs upon the cross,
Did not ignore my plea.
He healed a beloved servant,
And asked nothing of me.

Now I am a helpless witness
To this Nazarene's death.
I try not to lose composure,
As He takes His last breath.

And if He is the Son of God,
I hope He can forgive.
The part I played in all of this,
With which I now must live.

But in my heart I hold the hope,
That He will rise again.
And if, indeed, He does return,
I will be waiting then.

I'm a soldier of the empire,
Who wishes to receive,
Salvation from the carpenter,
In whom I now believe.

This poem was a finalist in the August 2021 poetry contest

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