"The Dream of the Rood"

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The tree claims that when Christ climbed upon him, he "had to stand firm." What doctrine of Christianity might have argued that the tree was obligated to remain upright, despite the torture of its acknowledged "Lord"?

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The tree, or rood, is personified in this poem, treated as a human being telling a story. The Christian doctrine the rood might be thinking of is faithfulness to Jesus.

In the New Testament, humans are asked to stand faithfully by Jesus and be a witness to him. For example, in Matthew 26:40, Jesus comes across his disciples asleep and

saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

Jesus also says to his disciples, in the gospel of John during the Last Supper, that

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

The tree acts as a witness to Jesus's suffering through its poem. The rood itself did not suffer, but it bears the marks of Jesus's pain in the form of blood stains and the damage done to it by the nails. It was true to the scriptural command of Jesus to "watch with me" in a way the disciples were not.

Further, the rood shows itself to be Jesus's faithful friend by being obedient, doing what is commanded of it, which is to bear the weight of Jesus as he dies. The rood stands firm and upright because it knows it is what is expected and that it will be honored all over the world for it. As the rood says:

they will honor me far and wide,
men over earth, and all this great creation,
will pray for themselves to this beacon. On me God’s son
suffered awhile.

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There is no doctrine, as such, that required the tree used to make the cross upon which Jesus was crucified to remain upright.

The importance of crucifixion as the means by which Jesus Christ was killed was that this was fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Jesus often told the apostles that He was going to die when He reached Jerusalem, and that part of His mission was to fulfill all the scriptural writings from the past that had looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. Possibly the most telling Old Testament passage in relation to the uprightness of the cross would be what is often called the "Song of the Suffering Servant."

See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him-his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness... (Isa. 52:13-14)

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