Ok, so it's over a week after Easter. But I can still reflect on it, right?
One of the joys of reading the Bible is that I can hear the same scripture verses year after year, but hear something different in them. Last year, the Easter story impressed on me the stubborn faith of the women who first discovered the empty tomb. They were brave, and their faith was sure.
This year, I've been mulling over Mary quite a bit - Jesus' mother, Mary. Now, we're not Catholic. We do not pray to Mary. But she is an amazing woman who can teach us all a thing or two about submitting faithfully to God's will for her life.
Easter Sunday, we heard the Easter story from the book of John. Unlike the rest of the disciples, John was present to witness the crucifixion. With him were some of the women, including Jesus' mother:
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 nearby, 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.
(John 19: 25-27, NIV)
The passage was discussed as demonstrating how Jesus thought of his followers up until the very last moment, making sure his mother would be cared for after his death. But what struck me the most was the fact that his mother was there to witness the whole crucifixion.
Most of the disciples ran in fear and avoided having to watch their dear friend suffer in such a cruel way. But not Mary. Not the other women.
I can't imagine watching my own child be tortured and put to death. What a horror. The pain must be unimaginable. My mind flinches from exploring the concept fully.
But this is a mother's love in action.
When does a child need us the most? When they're in pain - when they're suffering. And it pains us to witness it. We'd do anything to make it go away. Thankfully, most of us only have to endure the occasional childhood sickness and regular rounds of immunizations. Not flogging. Not being nailed to a cross. But Mary was there for him until the end, when most of the others had run away.
The whole episode emphasizes the humanity, the "true man" that Jesus was. He suffered as we do, and he had family that suffered through and with him. I'm not sure I have any more profound conclusions, just a great deal of awe. And thankfulness for the gift that Christ has given us through Easter - the promise that none of us will have to suffer as he did. Even in our families' worst moments, we have the comfort and hope of eternal salvation that can ease our pain. As a mother, I take comfort in knowing that God takes care of me, just as Jesus took care of his mother.