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domingo, 5 de abril de 2009

COUNTDOWN TO EASTER: MARY AT THE CROSS


-As I stood nearby with my friends, I heard him say, “Father forgive these people, because they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23)
Oh how my heart was breaking to see him there with those nails they had so cruelly punched into his hands and feet. This was my loving son...the one promised to me more than 30 years ago by the angel....
-I was so young then – only 16, and engaged to be married to my dear Joseph when that angel visited me...
At first I was frightened, but he said, “Don’t be afraid Mary, for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him ‘Jeshua’. (Luke 1)
Well, I knew what that name meant – it was a common name among our people. It meant ‘the Lord saves’.
Then the angel went on to say, “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David...”
But I was very confused now – Joseph and I were not yet married. So with my heart pounding I dared to ask the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.”
His answer amazed me, “...the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy and he will be called the Son of God.”
What could I say....I was astounded....so I simply answered, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.”
Then the angel left me, with my heart still pounding!

-I looked up at my precious son, hanging there.....but the angel had said he would reign over Israel, and his kingdom would never end.....
Surely they’ll come and take him down...surely they’ll realise who he is!

-Then I heard some of the soldiers calling out to him, “If you are king of the Jews, save yourself!” And they nailed a crude sign one of them had written, above him that said, “This is the king of the Jews”. They mocked him, and spat on him.

-They had thrown his robe on the ground. I wanted to take it home ...it was a beautiful robe that I had woven for him – with no seams, and worth a lot of money ...it was all I had left! But as I moved closer I saw and heard the soldiers fighting over it. “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who gets it.”
And I remembered those prophetic words of our ancestor David: ‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and threw dice for my robe.” (Psalm 22)
I have made so many clothes for him over the years. He was such a sweet baby....
...Since those Bethlehem shepherds came, just after he was born and told us what the angels had said – that the Saviour, the Messiah was born - I have treasured those things in my heart and thought about them often!

-He grew up to be a happy child, always helping other children, and sorting out their problems. What a fine man he has grown into....
I was so amazed that time when he was only 12, we thought we had lost him as we left Jerusalem. We spent 3 days frantically searching for him, and finally found him – not running off with his friends as we had thought, but in the temple, sitting among the religious leaders discussing deep questions.
When we asked why he had done this he simply said,
“You should have known that I would be in my father’s house.” We didn’t understand what he meant.

-As my friends and I huddled together, weeping, we moved closer so we could speak with my dear son and give him some comfort. He looked down at me, with such love and compassion in his eyes and said to me,
“Woman, he is your son.” His eyes were indicating John, standing next to me. John was always very special to him. And he said to John,
“She is your mother.” Even in his own agony, he thought first of us and our pain. He wanted us to take care of each other as a mother and son!

-A short time later, as we stood there, in this eerie darkness that had come over the land, despite being the middle of the afternoon, he turned his eyes toward heaven and in a loud voice, cried out, “Father I entrust my spirit into your hands.” (Luke 23)
And with those words he breathed his last.

...The words that Simeon had said to me in the temple so long ago when he had held my baby in his arms, now rang in my ears:
“This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others......and a sword will pierce your very soul.”
And I knew the time had come, and he was no longer there – but with his true father.

The soldiers came to see if he was still alive.
When they saw that he was already dead, one of them pierced his side with a spear and out flowed blood and water.
And I thought of those words of Zechariah the prophet, “They will look on him whom they have pierced”, and I understood!

Ros Atkinson, Project Hannah.

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