I’ve been thinking about the first Good Friday and how the mother of Jesus must have felt as he went through his trial and almost total rejection by the ones he loved. I’m fascinated by the parallels in her story, interwoven with the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If I were to go backwards from the birth of the church, would I see something tremendous, something unique? And would I be able to explain it?
Fifty days after the Jewish Passover (the time of Jesus death), comes the Day of Pentecost. As Jesus had instructed his disciples, Mary was also there that day in the upper room, waiting for the gift that Jesus had promised. So she also received the Holy Spirit. She already knew him because it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was conceived. After the angel Gabriel had visited her as a young woman, she’d known her body was available to shelter a child who would one day give up his own body to shelter mankind.
And it was the Holy Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost, who gave birth to a wonderful, new, living entity, the church: the Body of Christ! This meant that Mary was now part of that Body, not as Jesus’ mother, but as a member of the church.
I traced Mary’s journey back through the years of Jesus’ life. As much as we can know from the Bible story, I watched as she saw him turn water into wine and perform other miracles. I thought of her anxiety when he stayed behind in Jerusalem to talk with the Jewish teachers about his heavenly Father’s plans for him.
I felt the disruption to her life when they fled to Egypt and I empathised with her as Simeon and Anna blessed her baby in the Temple. She must have rejoiced, but shuddered too, at the words of prophecy that some of Jesus’ future experiences would pierce her own heart like the thrust of a sword.
We know she ‘pondered these things in her heart’ and I guessed she’d often meditated on them over the years. Did she and Joseph have many discussions about these things? I’m sure they did. And did Jesus talk to her about the truth? I believe he did. Did she understand her role in history and in the cataclysmic events of Good Friday? How close was she following in those hours of his ordeal?
Perhaps others have studied these things and come up with answers. Here are a few of my own questions to God…and some are still questions!
How close did she follow in those hours before the trial?
When she stood before the cross, did she remember…
meeting Gabriel the angel
singing praises to God and rejoicing with her cousin?
giving birth and the visits by the shepherds and the wise men.
She’d recall the words of Simeon that stung her inner being
there in the Temple.
Clinging to John, the beloved disciple,
did she sense again the tenderness she’d felt
when she nurtured baby Jesus in the manger?
What could he give her now from his place of danger?
What comfort could she offer through her tears?
In fifty days to Pentecost
his gift to her would come
all would be hers in miraculous tongues
to praise him.
What a Mystery! What a glorious wonder!
Lyn Thiele ~ 4/2017