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Sermon 2009-04-10

Sermon 2009-04-10

Mary, Mother of Jesus: at the Cross

 Good Friday

April 10, 2009

Pastor Mary Blessing,
Vicar, St. Philip’s, Scotts Valley CA

 
My son, My son, how have I forsaken you?
On my knees, I beg you, forgive me for the pain I have caused.
Perfect child of my womb,
Your healing touch blessed my soul, as only God can do,
Now you hang, bloody, naked, alone.
I am helpless.
My heart is pierced with a sword more painful than a soldier’s blade,
For I have failed you, my son.
I have not protected you from these evil ones.
 
Gabriel told me I found favor with God,
The angel said I was blessed to be the mother of God’s son.
Truly, my life was blessed because of you, my beloved,
In spite of the pain of ridicule in Nazareth,
In spite of your insistence to be about your Father’s business without me,
In spite of every challenge we faced alone and together,
My life was blessed to be your mother.
No one can ever change that.
 
Yet I do not know if I can bear this pain, this anguish.
Nothing has prepared me for this.
A few short days ago you were hailed as King of the Jews,
I believed the prophecy of your fate had come true, finally.
And now they mock you, spit in your face, and beat you.
I do not understand.  I always believed—I knew you were God’s Son,
How can they mock God’s Son?
 
I do not know how I can endure your suffering.
Oh how I wish they had placed me on that tree,
Then I would endure this pain for you, my son,
And my failure would turn to triumph.
 
My arms ache to hold you once again.
To cradle your gentle face against my breast.
My hands long to touch your wounds;
to bring you healing, as you have healed others.
But the soldiers keep me here at a distance, and I am paralyzed.
 
You warned me of this day, that when it came I would need to be strong.
But, oh, my son, I never really knew it would come to this, not this.
You have the power to stop this evil,
I do not know why you choose to let them shame you this way,
Yet, I trust.  I believe.  I am certain you know God’s purpose;
You will show me the way through this turmoil.
 
As I dare to look up toward your face, our eyes meet--I feel your strength.
My soul stirs with hope, you know this is not the end.
I cannot see the end: I see only pain, your blood, your nakedness, your shame.
Yet, your eyes fill my heart with love.  I am strengthened. I feel your peace.
You know this is not the end.
 
Where are your brothers, my younger sons, James and Jude?
Why have they run?  Why do they abandon us in our pain? Who is my family?
Your friend, John, gives me his hand, my sister holds my other side.
You speak to John, as we hold each other in anguish.
This one, John, your friend, he is the one you say will be my son.
He will care for me. I will care for him.  I promise.
 
But, first I must hold you, my son.
I will not leave until you are laid to rest.
 
Did you hear that?  He is thirsty, someone bring him a drink.
Perhaps the vinegar will give you strength, and you can overcome this cross.
 
But I see this is not so, you have given up your spirit. It is finished.
 
Oh, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
I have done all that you asked.
My son has done all that you asked.
And now, he is dead.
 
Lord, please, let me hold him again, just one more time.
Your eyes are closed, my sweet, I cannot feel their strength anymore.
Your head lies here, limp, cradled in my arm, Oh how I love that face.
You are no longer mine, my Son.  You were never mine.  I was always yours.
 
Now I must release you.  I must lift you up.
I must offer you back to your Father, who gave you to me,
so that I might be yours, that we all might be One, through You.
 
I release you, my Son.