Thursday, October 28, 2010

What words can comfort, what help in Christ? a reflection on Mary and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross

In 2004 I was involved in a series of Lenten reflections with inner city churches in Napier. that year we focused on the sayings of Jesus on the cross and I wrote the following soliloquy of two people,  as a reflection on 'Jesus words to Mary and the beloved disciple from John's Gospel. I though I'd just share in with you... It's not that seasonal but as I  re-read it I realised that in the midst of our sorrow and grief one of the comforts that Jesus has given us is each other as the body of Christ. He calls us to know we have people to care for us and also to care for each other... in this we find words of comfort and help in Christ.


Nothing compares with this pain,

This grief, This sorrow

Enduring the cruel death of a son

This O so special one

This light of the word

Not the pain of childbirth

Forgotten in the joy of a babies cry

the grip of a small hand

the first suckle

Not the pain of having to flee

To be a refugee in Egypt

With the wail of other women crying for lost sons in your ear

Nor the loss of a husband, although that came near

Or the doubts about Jesus as he said and did all those radical things

Yet he is the messiah the one promised

That old man Simeon had come closest all those years ago

“ a sword will pierce your heart”

“A sword will pierce your heart”

This was God’s plan all along

In those words God prepared me for this pain, this sorrow...

This death

It is part of God’s plan

I grieve but I believe

A widow who will now care for a widow

Without husband and eldest son

No welfare state, children are our pension

Our widows benefit, our health insurance

There is other family but none here

And Jesus a good son,

Who honoured mother and father?

What can be done?

Woman of faith yet bereft and alone

Counted blessed amongst women

Yet in need of care

A woman of faith with so much to share

“yet a sword has pierced her heart”

What words can comfort

What help in Christ?

The disciple that Jesus loved

You had said this would happen

You told us and told us

Yet as we marched into this city

It seemed as if all was well

They cheered you, hailed you king

It was quite a scene

Then they turned on you

Political expediency

Better that one man die rather than bloody rebellion

The sign says it well ‘King of the Jews’

Even the others have vanished

They had been with us these three years

They could not come

They are Hiding, disillusioned and afraid

But I could not, I love you so

We’d talked and laughed and I’d watch you cry

You had spoken and our hearts became alive

Even though we struggled to understand it all

That last meal I lay with my head on your shoulder

More than disciple and teacher, as you said we are friends

You’d said this would happen

And in the midst of my tears and my grief I hope

I hope in a God who is stronger than death

Yet I feel lost and bereft

In you I had found a mentor, a Rabbi

Someone I would follow anywhere

When you’d started saying the hard things about your death

People had left us in droves

Yet when you’d turned to us and asked if we’d go

We said where can we go, you have the words of eternal life

I am with you here as well and cannot abandon you

Where would I go you have the words of eternal life?

Where will I find someone with the wisdom to help me live for you?

What can I do for you my beloved friend?

If just a simple thing to ease your pain?

I feel so alone?

Are there any words of comfort?

What help in Christ?

Jesus words from the cross

“Woman, here is your son”
“Here is your mother”

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