Mary, the Mother of Jesus—In Glory

Happy Easter

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Mary, the Mother of Jesus—In Glory

He died while I stood at his feet. And when they took him down, I held him – my baby, my son – in my arms one last time. I followed with the others as they wrapped him in burial cloths, and I remembered wrapping him in swaddling clothes when he was born. I laid him in the manger; they buried him in the tomb. And when they rolled the stone in front of the tomb, my heart was encased in a stone every bit as heavy.

That Saturday was the longest day I have ever lived through. I remembered the words that generations would call me blessed. How God? How?

My throat was ravaged raw with the tears I had already shed, the agony of wails that felt ripped from my soul. My heart ached, and I wanted to pray, yet no prayers would come. I went into the room that John the Disciple had set aside for me. He was a sweet young man and had taken Jesus’ words from the cross seriously. He would take care of me for as long as I needed. And maybe I could take care of him too. Maybe in some way he could help fill the aching hole that only grieving mothers know. Surely that was what my son had intended.

My son. My son …

The sleep I fell into was deep and dreamless, feeling more like my mind was trying to escape the pain rather than rest.

I don’t know what time it was when I woke, but it was still dark. I could hear rustlings outside as though the birds were starting to stir. Dawn wasn’t far off. My muscles felt heavy and my eyelids dragged downward. I should go to the tomb.

And with the thought came a feeling deep in my belly, like the birth of something great, something wondrous. I remembered how Aunt Elizabeth had said that her baby John had leapt in her womb when he recognized my son Jesus. I felt that way now. Something inside me had leapt. I laid my hand over my stomach.

What could be happening? Could it just be a part of the grief? And yet, there was no denying the little spark that wasn’t grief. I couldn’t explain it.

I could hear commotion downstairs. I walked to the top of the stairs but paused before going down. This wasn’t my house, and I didn’t want to interrupt. I could hear Mary of Magdalene talking excitedly to John. I heard Peter’s voice too. I listened closely for the words. The stone had been rolled away. The tomb was empty. I staggered against the wall and put my hand again on my stomach as I heard her words. The spark roared through me. The tomb was empty.

I turned back to my room, and there he was, shining with life, with the glory of heaven. He didn’t need to speak. My mother’s heart knew it. My son. My Jesus. He didn’t say anything, but he smiled at me and I knew a joy that surpassed everything, even the joy I felt the night he was born.

Simeon said a sword would pierce my soul. It had. I had treasured all these things in my heart. All of them. And it was true – generations would call me blessed. I am blessed.

He is no longer simply my son.

He is my King, my Savior. The Risen One.

Two Marys – Good Friday Monologues

I wrote these two monologues for Good Friday last year. My Easter monologue will be posted on Sunday morning. Please feel free to use them if you’d like. I only ask that they be attributed to me and that you let me know how you used them, if you do. Thank you!

Mary Magdalene

Have you ever met someone that you knew as soon as you met them that they would change your life? I felt that way when I met Jesus.

You see, I had been depressed for a long time. Some people said there were demons in me. Other people said I just had a lot of illnesses. To be honest, I didn’t care what they called it. All I know is that life was awful and I was miserable. Life was nothing but torment. My sister Martha and my brother Lazarus did what they could to take care of me, but I know it was stressful to the whole family. It was hard for us to have friends or to be a part of the community. I was an outcast.

But then I met Jesus. There is something wonderful when someone accepts you for who you are. He could see past the erratic behavior and the language, moans and shrieks that would come from me. He saw deep inside me. He saw what no one else could see. He spoke one word and the demons left me. Instantly I felt a peace I had never known before. I had been healed! Life would never be the same.

My heart belonged to Jesus from that moment on, and nothing would change that.

Jesus often visited our home, and there was nothing I liked more than to sit at his feet and listen to him teach. I could hear whispers sometimes that I shouldn’t be there. It wasn’t right for a woman to be taught in the same manner that men were. But where else should I have been except at his feet? His feet. The feet that walked down dusty roads.

I learned a lot from listening to him, and some of what I heard made me sad. He talked about his death, about things that would happen to him in the future. None of the disciples seemed to really pay attention to what he was saying. But I couldn’t get rid of the sorrow inside me.

How could I bear it if he went away or if something happened to him? I loved him. My whole life was wrapped up in his. I didn’t want to be like one of the other disciples and tell him that these things couldn’t happen. They could happen. They would happen. How could I show him how I felt about him, show him that I understood?

I remembered the perfume I had. It was the only thing of value I owned. I could think of nothing better for my Master. So one night when he was at our home for dinner, I took the perfume and poured it over his feet. His feet. The feet that walked on water.

The smell of the perfume filled the room, and I loved him so much that I would have done anything for him. I let down my hair and began wiping his feet. I could hear whispers then too, that I shouldn’t have wasted the perfume, that I could have sold it and given the money to the poor. I could feel my face burn with shame. Was it wrong of me to show my love for him?

But then he spoke. His word at one time had driven the demons from my body and my mind. And now his word drove accusations away. But I heard words even I didn’t want to hear. “My burial.”

Was I the only one who heard that?

And now standing at the cross, his mother beside me, I look at the bleeding and tortured man in front of me. His arms are stretched out as though they could embrace the whole world. His feet are nail-pierced. His feet. The feet I anointed for his burial.

I remember his words. But I remember other of his words as well. About death. About being raised. About promises of an afterlife. And although my heart is full of sorrow, there is life and hope within.

And I think about his feet. His feet. The feet that will walk down the road again.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus—In Grief

There were so many things I wanted to say to you, my son, and I always thought I’d have the time. And now it’s nearly too late. So I’ll say them now.

I was so young when the angel Gabriel appeared to me and told me about God’s blessing upon me. I was confused. I just didn’t know how it could happen. And I was a little worried too, worried about Joseph and how he would handle it. It seems now that all of that was a lot for a teenager to handle. I look now at the young girls in Galilee, ribbons in their hair and laughter in their voices, and I can’t imagine that I was ever that carefree, ever that young. I feel so old now.

When I look at you I see the little baby you were as I held you in my arms the first time. I was so tired. Your father and I had traveled by donkey to Bethlehem for the census. It was an uncertain time, so scary and tense. Your father tried hard not to show how nervous he was, but I could tell. And then when we finally got there and there was no room for us anywhere, he was almost at a breaking point. I know I was. He apologized so many times when he led me into the barn. But I didn’t care. I just needed some place warm and quiet so I could lay down. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

That pain was nothing compared to now. When I first became pregnant, I said to your Aunt Elizabeth that all generations would call me blessed. I’m not so sure now.

I never told anyone about the day we presented you at the temple. You’ve heard what the prophet Simeon said about you, that you would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to our people. And you have been, my son! Your kindness to the outcasts has drawn people to you, and in you, people have seen the face of God. But it also drew unwanted attention to you, anger, hatred. At times I wanted you to be a little quieter, a little more cautious around the Pharisees. You could have! You didn’t always have to provoke! You didn’t always have to speak the truth, did you? And yet, I know that doing that, that softening your words or backing down, would make you a different man. Do I wish you were a different man? How could I want that? You are the hope of Israel, the hope of all mankind.

What I never told anyone was that Simeon said that a sword would pierce my soul. I never knew what he meant. But I know now, my son. I know now.

I always wanted to protect you from pain. I hated every bruise and scrape. But I couldn’t protect you from pain when you were little, and I was helpless to stop any of the violence inflicted on you today. I felt the lashes that fell on your back, the back I used to wash when you were a little boy. I screamed until my throat was raw at those who hurled awful names at you, the son whose name I whispered daily in my prayers. I wept when they crushed the crown of thorns on your head, the head I kissed goodnight every time I put you to bed. But when they drove spikes through your hands—hands I held as we walked down the road—I felt the sword pierce my soul.

I stand now at your cross. There are no miracles this time. The light has gone out of my life, even as it is draining from the sky.

All generations will call me blessed. I’m not so sure now. I’m not so sure.