Saturday, 15 April 2017
The Day of Hopelessness
I don't understand.
Don't get it.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. The story wasn't supposed to end this way. I thought there would be more, that he would escape, he would show them all who he was. He raised the dead. He bound up the broken-hearted. He healed the sick.
But he let them murder him.
I sit here in this garden, watching the place I never wanted to see, the stone sealing the cold tomb, his broken body laid out inside. I saw it all. Saw them take him down, saw them anoint him, saw them place him in there. The scent of myrrh lingers in my nostrils, the smell of death weaves around my body.
Hes gone, and I don't understand.
I remember one starry night so long ago, my arms full of this precious load, the knowledge heavy on me of who he was. Who he would be. The miracle of Immanuel. That night, the skies rang out in praise, the moon and stars bowed in homage and perfect peace wrapped itself around my soul. That starry night, hope was born.
But where is hope now?
I watched him die. I watched my son, his face wreathed in the most unimaginable pain, so broken, blood running down his face and dripping onto his devastated body. I watched as they mocked him, sneered, sniggered, pointed, hated. I watched with my hands squeezed against my eyes, tears spilling out between my fingers as he spoke words I could not understand but still shocked me with their power.
It is finished.
The disciple he loved stood with his hand on my shoulder, holding me steady as I wobbled, my joy and my light fleeing away and leaving me with nothing but bones like water and eyes red-raw and a heart like a sunken stone. Here is your mother, my son had said to him, ever so watchful of me, pouring his love over me even in the worst of moments.
Why? Why did this happen?
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
I remembered the words which curled through my spirit, one sun-streaked day so long ago. My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - Holy is his name.
But they won't call me blessed now, will they? They won't look back on a starry night and grasp the magnitude, the sheer holiness of a tiny baby. Not now.
Not now he's gone.
I look up. Two Roman soldiers guard the tomb, mouths set in grim lines as they scan the landscape. They reckon we might steal the body. But we would never do that. Never. He is my son. My beloved. Why would I disturb his peace?
I am hidden from them as I watch, crouched behind a grove of olive trees. They stand in their finery, spears at the ready, chins held high in the pride of their station. I wonder if they know who they are guarding. Wonder if they know he was the brightest light, the miracle child, the son of God, the man who loved and restored and healed and forgave. Wonder if they know what they did.
My tears are my food.
But then I recall a starry night, a night when my arms were heavy with a precious load, a night when angels sang to shepherds and I gazed at the night sky, so pendulous with hope. I recall my heart pounding with fierce love and more; a love so great it overshadowed and overwhelmed and held me so close I could not speak. I remember that love, and I burrow deep into my heaving grief to find it. To locate the hope that never, ever dies.
And then I remember words he said, walking along a dust-covered road one scorching day. Words about suffering and death. But there was more. There was something about raising.
I gaze at the tomb, so still in the hushed air of a sultry afternoon. Could it be...?
Surely not. I am looking for something where there is nothing.
But his weight is in my arms and his love presses down on me.
On this Saturday of hopelessness, dare I look for light? Dare I gather up my pain and pour it into hope?
Dare I live in pain-washed expectancy?