Good Friday Witness Mary the Mother of Jesus by Sara Sosa, pastor at Plymouth Covenant Church in Plymouth, MN
When I said yes, I was just a child. Eager to please. Easily connected to my faith in God. As a young girl, very little stood in the way of my seeing you, sensing your presence in my life, hearing your voice. You called me to an important task...one I would never have imagined would be mine. Looking back, I can’t believe the time has gone so quickly. You threw me into controversy and I knew with you at my side, I could endure. I pray I have done well the task you asked of me.
But it is not over yet. Of all the trials this heart has had to survive, this is most certainly the hardest. I know he has asked you to let the cup pass from him. But that has not been your will. So I do not ask for this cup to pass from me, either. Even so, he is my son, too. You have watched him from afar for thirty three years. I have held him close. I know how his skin feels. I know what his laughter sounds like. I remember the smell of fresh air and sweat and little boy. I can almost recall it if I close my eyes.
But I will not close them. As long as he breathes, I will stand watch, though it is tearing me apart. At lightning speed, the memories come fast and furious: a newborn in a stall prepared for animals, an unexpected visit from far away kings, a frantic flight to Egypt, a young boy lost on our trip to Jerusalem...this mother holding him close through all of that. My arms ache to hold him.
Never have I questioned you and I struggle not to do so now. I am beyond thankful that your messenger did not reveal this plan when he arrived in my home all those years ago. His visit was disturbing and reassuring all at the same time. I remember feeling peaceful and wondering why I wasn’t terrified. I find that I feel that same peace now even though my heart is breaking to watch him. I know I am not alone. My agony pales in comparison to yours.
His words from the cross have been so very hard to hear. He wonders why you have forsaken him. He entrusts me to the care of one of his closest earthly friends. He has blessed and welcomed a thief into his kingdom. His love is outrageous. His strength and singular focus so totally overwhelming. I see in him characteristics that must be yours alone. I have always seen that.
More memories press in...coming to the aid of the host of a wedding, patiently training and leading his group of twelve, restoring health and wholeness, walking on water, welcoming children, restoring the dignity of a woman who had none...she kneels in the dirt beside me now. And then there is Lazarus. Who cannot but follow him after such a display of kingdom authority?
Kingdom authority. That is what is happening now, isn’t it? Your kingdom...your authority...meeting my broken and needy earth. The cries from a week ago echo through my mind. Hosanna...Save us.
You have darkened the sky and the earth has begun to tremble. I know you are here, though I cannot see you. I wish I could see you though I know it would destroy me to do so. I know your messengers are here, too, though I cannot see them either. Though my eyes cannot perceive the heavenly realm, I know it is here. I can see it on the face of my son. He knows you are near.
God in heaven, I have done what you asked of me. With all that I am, I have loved him with a mother’s love...all the while knowing he was never really mine. In this moment, I am glad he is yours because you can redeem him from the agony of this crucifixion. From his words, I know he understands you must look the other way. But that is a place in which I can stand. I can continue to look, to watch, to love while you must suspend your love for the briefest of moments. I will keep watch for both of us until the moment when he passes from this world and from my embrace into yours. Father, into your hands I commend his spirit.
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