They twisted together a crown
with which to anoint his brow.
They thought to make a mockery,
but had the pliant green twigs
not yielded of their own accord,
their obeisance and homage
to their king, then their hands
would have held only dust
rubbed into the stained creases
of the palms where their blood,
drawn by the thorns,
mingled with his.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading does not mention the crown of thorns – in fact, Luke is the only evangelist not to include that particular detail of the soldiers’ mockery of Christ – but it is inescapable, because of the other three; firmly woven into the background of our shared image of the crucifixion of Christ the King.