I was There…

The fifth of our Holy Week eye witnesses at the Agape Centre, an appropriate one given that this day in the Christian calendar is usually the Feast of the Annunciation, 9 months before Christmas, but because it falls on Good Friday, that feast is deferred until the 4th April. 

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her,‘Woman,[b] here is your son,’ 27 and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said,‘I am thirsty.’ 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19: 25-30  (NIV-UK)

I was there… with the other women… I had been there at the beginning… I was going to stay right to the end… I had given birth to the eternal son of God… So it was no stranger to watch that same eternal son of God die…
But while I thought nothing could be as painful as the birth of my firstborn, absolutely nothing could compare with the pain of watching him die… No child should die before their mother… It seems to be against the natural order of things… But even more so when the natural order has been overturned in the first place… Why was he born if it was only to die? Would I have said “Yes” in the beginning, if I had known how it would end? I don’t know… Did I have a choice? Did God have a choice? I didn’t understand why it had to be that way… If he had listened to me it mightn’t have ended like that… But he didn’t… and it did…
When I think back, I cannot believe that when I learned I was pregnant I sang that all generations would call me blessed… Of course I had been blessed, but standing by that cross I felt the curse of God fall on me as scripture tells me it fell on him and all those who die on a tree…
I cried with him, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Old Simeon in the Temple could see things much clearer than I could in my childish naivety when he told me at the time of my son’s circumcision that a sword would pierce my soul… Maybe not a sword, but a spear… My son didn’t feel it… He was beyond feeling by then… But I felt every inch of that spear as the soldier probed his side and my soul… And as the water and the blood poured from his side… Finally the dam burst and I cried for the first time that day… But I made up for lost time… I cried as if I would never stop…
John, my cousin’s son, steered me away… He had had his arm around me the whole time… My son had seen that and he asked us to look after each other as mother and son… Typical of him to think about others while breathing his last… I know that John will do his best for me… and I will try to do my best for him. But it’s not the same… It will never, ever be the same… As he said, “It is finished…”

Father God
On this day when the Mother of your Son Jesus,
watched her own flesh and blood 
tormented on a mockery of a tree
for the whole world to see,
Our heart goes out to countless other Mothers
whose hearts are breaking 
because of their children...
Lives cut short by acts of violence, 
by the actions of unjust governments, 
by wrong choices that those children have made for themselves 
no matter how much their mothers and fathers and others urged them not to… 
those whose lives have been cut short by disaster, or disease or tragic accident… 
But we thank you that because of the life and death of Mary's son
No son or daughter's death need be the end...
You have not forsaken us...
Christ’s work is not yet finished in us...
The Holy Spirit is there to breath into us anew
Love into loneliness
Hope into despair
Life into Death.


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