• Keith Mathison

Turn and Look Once More



Good Friday

By Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)


Am I a stone and not a sheep,

That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross, 

To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,

And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved 

Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee; 

Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; Not so the thief was moved;


Not so the Sun and Moon

Which hid their faces in a starless sky, 

A horror of great darkness at broad noon — 

I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,

But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;

Greater than Moses, turn and look once more 

And smite a rock.

The imagery of this poem is quite striking as the author considers the fact that when she considers the cross of Christ she remains unmoved by it. Her heart is like a stone. She observes that others are moved by Christ. Even Peter who is named "Rock" is able to be moved. But she has a hard heart.


She pleads with Christ not to give up on her, but to seek her like a lost sheep. And because Christ is greater than Moses who smote a stone in the Old Testament to give Israel water and thus life (Exodus 17:6), she asks Him to smite her heart of stone and thus give her life.


Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10–12)

Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay

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