The Scapegoat (Leviticus 16.1-22)

The wilderness calls.
I can hear the flap of its canvas,
feel the drought in its breath,
smell the baked bark of stone
as it burns in the boiling sun.
It is not home
save to jackals and outcasts,
demons and fears
and temptation.

So why is Jesus here?

It is the day of atonement
and the high priest knows
my wandering ways.
The sacrifice has been offered,
my heart has been sprinkled,
my conscience is cleansed,
but it is not complete.

The memories of my rebellion
rattle in my mind like rusty tins
tripping up my thoughts
and tarnishing my tasks.

I need to look into the eyes
of the goat,
place my hands on his head
and lay on him
all the wounds and warps of my life.

Jesus, whose hot blood
salted my sin forever,
you made yourself nothing,
taking the form of a scapegoat,
carrying into the wilderness
the load that I could not bear;
removing my transgressions
as far as the east is from the west.

So when I find myself
in the wilderness,
when I have stones
for bread
and stumble over
decisions I have to make,
I don’t need to fear.
It is no longer a place of
punishment and exile,
but a time when God is
perfecting my holiness.