Posts tagged Mary
Posts tagged Mary
“And those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
My friend Lee Younger posted this verse and to me it holds such promise for those of us who are called Beloved. Goodness is coming. I don’t mean the kind of goodness we experience when we eat a triple-chunk gooey chocolate brownie or a slice of the Strawberry Summer Cake I made yesterday evening for our college/career Bible study, but the goodness Martha was jealous of Mary for having within the presence of the Lord. There is a Sara Groves song called “What Do I Know” and the last line of the song is the best: ”I know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord, and from what I know of Him, that must be very good.”
The verses previous to Isaiah 35:10 are lovely as well. They speak of a the Holy Road (this is what it’s called in the Message Remix). Starting at verse 8- “It’s for God’s people exclusively— impossible to get lost on this road. No lions on this road, no dangerous animals— nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it.” I like how this version words verse 10, too. Imagine Aslan or Gandalf reading this to you: “The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads. Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.”
A woman sat at a small wooden table, her gray-streaked hair pulled back in a knot… A simple meal lay on the table in front of her: meat, bread, and wine.
Mary smiled at me, the lines around her eyes crinkling up. ”I could tell you so many stories,” she said. ”I wish you could have seen him when I first held him… when you hold your first little baby, the whole world changes. His fingers were so small, and he cried when he felt the cold air of the stable— it was the purest sound in the whole world. When we took him to the Temple for his dedication, an old man name Simeon came to us and started praying and praising God. He took hold of Y’shua and told us, ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.’ Then, as if in an afterthought, he said, ‘And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
“Of course we had no idea what that meant, even though the prophetess gave similar testimony that same day. But we had seen the angels.
“‘Don’t be afraid,’ he commanded me, but I was terrified! And we had seen the shepherds crowding around the manger, all wanting to touch him, and I didn’t want them to hold him. He seemed so tiny and vulnerable, and they were rough and filthy and they stank. But Joseph said, ‘He isn’t ours alone, Mary. He’ll never be ours alone.’” She stopped and took a small drink of the wine.
“One day when he was twelve, we thought maybe he was with his friends. We were all traveling in a caravan, and at the end of the first day’s journey we went to look for Y’shua, but he was gone. We raced back to Jerusalem and spent three days searching for him. All of the worst possible thoughts tormented me in those three days. Finally, Joseph found him in the Temple teaching the teachers. Those old, learned whitebeards, bowed in careful thought as our son explained the holy words to them. I was so afraid when we couldn’t find him— my heart like a frantic bird in a cage— and I kept pushing my breastbone, as if to keep it in with my hands. When we found him, I was amazed, and proud, and so angry that he would do that to us. I thought, This is what the old man meant when he said a sword would pierce my soul. But I was wrong.
“He was a boy. They had high hopes for him, of course. He could be a great teacher, they said. They wanted him to move there, to live in Jerusalem. But Joseph said, “He’s of the house of Judah, and firstborn. He’s to be a carpenter, not a priest.’ But the way the men deferred to him, the way they leaned forward to hear his high voice read the scrolls, it reminded me of when the kings came to us, when Y’shua was a boy.” She smiled, and her eyes focused on the middle distance. “‘A great king,’ they said. The words the magi spoke about him encouraged us deeply. Everyone always had something to say about him.
“It embarrassed me sometimes. What people said.” Her chin set forward, her jaw clenched down. I suddenly remembered that he had been born before she and Joseph married, and that the names he might have been called by others were not polite ones. ”Sometimes when he was speaking, and all the people were talking about him, people would say, ‘Mary, control your son.’ And I tried. But do you know the moment that broke my heart?
“When they had him on that cross. It was my baby boy, and I couldn’t recognize him. Y’shua’s friend, John, had to tell me which cross was his. His face was battered and swollen, and blood was caked all over his sides, his arms, his feet. And when he pulled himself up to breathe, it made the most horrible noise… like he was drowning.” She stopped and wiped at the tears pouring down her cheeks with the palms of her hands.
“I was standing below the cross in that horrible crowd. People jeering. Throwing stones, throwing insults. John was standing beside me, holding my arm. Y’shua’s good eye moved back and forth over the crowd, and I thought he saw me. His eyes were so swollen, I couldn’t tell for sure. But he said, ‘Dear woman,’ and I looked up at him. He smiled, and his mouth was bloody and horrible. ’Here is your son.’ John looked up to him, what was left of him, and he spoke to John. ’Here is your mother.’ And John took care of me after that.” She wiped at her face. ”One of the last things he said, broken and dying. ‘Take care of my mother.’ In the midst of his pain, in the center of his suffering, he stopped to take care of me.” She fidgeted with her hands and whispered, “A sword that pierced my soul.”
Her fingers came upon the cross around her neck and she jerked back, as if startled. She held it up for me to see, and it caught the dim light and flicked sparks into the dark. ”Do you understand how painful it is for me to wear this?”
-from Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos, Chapter 35 “Holy Mother of God”