‘That Best of Woods’: Christ’s Salvific Death and Dream of the Rood

“They crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS…Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own…Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.” —John 19:18-19, 25-27, 30

Today is Good Friday 2023, the day on which, almost 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ suffered and died a horrific and humiliating death on a cross to save mankind from sin and open the gates of Heaven. Christ suffered more than anyone else has ever been capable of suffering that day, when He bore not only the physical abuse but the weight of every sin ever committed, both in the past and the future. All because He loved us.

The “Dream of the Rood” is an Old English poem, traditionally attributed to St. Caedmon (d. c. 680) or Cynewulf. “Rood” is an Old English word for the cross. The narrator says the cross spoke to him in a dream:

Then the young hero made ready—that was God almighty—

strong and resolute; he ascended on the high gallows,

brave in the sight of many, when he wanted to ransom mankind.

I trembled when he embraced me, but I dared not bow to the ground,

or fall to the earth’s corners––I had to stand fast.

I was reared as a cross: I raised up the mighty King,

the Lord of heaven; I dared not lie down.

They drove dark nails through me; the scars are still visible,

open wounds of hate; I dared not harm any of them.

They mocked us both together; I was all drenched with blood

flowing from that man’s side after he had sent forth his spirit.”

If we carry our crosses well, we too will one day hear the words Jesus spoke to the Good Thief St. Dismas (Luke 23:43), “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

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Posted by CatSalgado32

Catherine Salgado is a columnist for The Rogue Review, a Writer for MRC Free Speech America, and writes her own Substack, Pro Deo et Libertate. She received the Andrew Breitbart MVP award for August 2021 from The Rogue Review for her journalism.

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