Bless my Boy

I suppose I've been thinking a lot about the story of women bringing their children to Jesus recently because of a "glut" of births and baptisms around our congregation at present (a nice problem to have - given the demographics of our congregation and community dispatches have been more common than hatches in recent years)... It is a powerful, if brief story with little need for further comment or dramatisation, but with Mothering Sunday coming up (even though it actually has nothing to do with Mothers - but Mother church) I thought I would offer this wee monologue looking at the event from the perspective of one of the mums. 

My boy, Joshua had just turned one… And like every other mother I wanted him blessed by a holy man… a rabbi… There's nothing wrong with him... at least not that I know, God-forbid, but it’s a tradition… Don’t know how it started, but in this world you need all the help you can get… so I was on the look out for someone to do the business for him… The local rabbi was alright… he had done the snip as required when Joshua was 8 days old… there was hardly any blood and Joshua didn’t cry… at least not too much… But there’s nothing special about him… Nothing that sets him apart…
So when I heard that this travelling rabbi was in our area, I thought he would check him out… after all he had the same name as Joshua… It seemed like a good omen…
Seemed like one until we tried to get near him…
First there were all sorts of lawyers and religious leaders bending his ears trying to catch him out with one question after another… I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying… Then there were crowds of sick people looking for healing… Finally we saw a gap and me and a few of the other women tried to get to him to bless our babies… That’s when his minders stepped in… a few brawny fishermen, and one who I would swear was one of those terrorist fanatics… You certainly wouldn't argue with them. 
They made all sorts of excuses… “The Master’s tired… come back tomorrow… He’s not seeing anyone else today.” But I don’t think he was tired… or even if he was that wasn’t the reason his followers were keeping us from him… 
It's great being able to decide who's on the inside and who's not... It gives you such a sense of superiority... And some of these guys had precious few they could look down on... But here they were with an inflated sense of their own importance because of their ability to push around a group of women and children. 
It’s always the same… women and children last… Oh… the rabbis make great pronouncements about what an honour motherhood is, how important children are, or at least male children… but until the coming of age children are best neither seen nor heard outside of the home. And us women… well it’s our honour to cook and clean and produce more children, and not make anyone unclean when our blood is flowing… Actually, these followers of this rabbi were acting as if we would make him unclean… And that is how some of these religious people are at times with us… tolerant, at best…
But then the strangest of things happened. The rabbi had clearly been listening to his followers and he was far from happy… He told them off in the same sort of tone they had been speaking to us, and said "Bring the bairns to me – don’t be a barrier to them… for they are full citizens of the kingdom of God.”
It was amazing… But he didn’t stop there, he said:
“I’m telling you not a word of a lie, if you don’t accept the kingdom of God like a babe in arms, you will have no part in it."
I’m still not sure what he meant by that… sure what can a child do that adults can’t? They’re powerless by comparison… I suppose that’s why they, and we their mothers are overlooked so often.
But this rabbi didn’t overlook us… One by one he came to each of the mothers and their children… Until, at last this rabbi Joshua, or Jesus as some call him, took my Jesus up in his arms, and blessed him…

From Mark 10:13-16



Popular posts from this blog

A Woman of no Distinction

I am the True Vine

Psalm for Harvest Sunday