Good Friday always finds me pondering the sorrow of Mary as she stands near the cross and watches her son in anguish. The weight of grief she carried as the life of her first born slips away. It is perhaps not so strange that during the holiest of weeks I hear the words of that modern Christmas song echoing in my head ~ Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
As a mother who has laid her son in the arms of God, I lament with Mary. I grieve for this mother who bore a son only to have his life cut short. I weep with this mother who longed to wrap her arms around him one.more.time and tell him how much he is loved.
And yet, I find my own grief overcome with joy because, unlike Mary, unlike those who stood near the cross that day when the sky darkened over Golgotha, I know with assurance what Sunday brings.
In the midst of my longing to fill the void left by the death of my own son, Scott, I find comfort in the words Jesus speaks to his mother from the cross. In his own anguish, he sees her tears and looks down from the cross ~ to meet her in the form of her need, to fill the deep void now created in this mother's heart. The account of the events of Good Friday found in John 19 tells us:
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
As I bend beneath the grief of Good Friday, the hope of Easter lifts me. I embrace the power of the resurrection that brings a glorious reunion with those who have gone before. I hold firm to the promise Jesus taught his disciples about his Kingdom, ushered in by his very death.
You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. – John 16:22, 23
May I stand today in awe of the One who sees my sorrow, wipes away my tears, and saves our sons and daughters. May I bow as the Centurion beneath the cross and say ~
Truly this is the Son of God who redeems the future by his sacrificial death, even the death on a cross.
Photo: The Pietà (1498-1499) is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo, housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.