The gospel for Ash Wednesday in the LCC lectionary is the story of Nicodemus from John 3. This morning, I rummaged through my books for Nicodemus by Edwin Arlington Robinson – a long poem which is well worth the effort to locate. (BC, if you are reading, thank you.) Here’s one little section. This is Nicodemus speaking to Caiaphas:
The lowly are the first inheritors
Of his report, the first acknowledgers
Of his reward – having no fame to lose,
No brief and tinsel perquisite of pomp,
Or profitable office, to renounce.
They are not politicians, Caiaphas,
Like you and me, who tremble when we step
An ell’s length from the middle of the road;
They are not sceptred slaves of precedent
And privilege, who must buy their breath of life
With fears and favors and hypocrisies
That would, if recognized, make honor sick.
– EA Robinson, Nicodemus (1932), pp.8-9.