A Mother's Remembering

A Mother's Remembering imagines a conversation between Mary and two other women on the eve of Pentecost. Acts 1.14 records that Mary the mother of Jesus and other women were present at the upper room prayer meetings. Luke 2.19 tells us that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." There are a number of points in the gospel narratives where Mary's recall of events and sayings of Jesus has been crucial to the record. What were the thoughts of the mother of the Lord during that waiting time before Pentecost?

It was the eve of Pentecost and three women peeped cautiously into the street. Mary, Miriam and Martha had been in the upper room with the eleven disciples of Jesus and a number of other followers. It was the same upper room where Jesus had his last meal with the twelve. Judas had been so certain of "getting" Jesus in the Garden that he hadn't mentioned this meeting place to the Jewish authorities. Now that Judas was gone, it was, for the moment, a safe place for the Jesus-people to meet.
MARTHA:Another special time of prayer, Mary! I'm sure Jesus is still with us!
MARY:You're right, Martha. Jesus is still with us. It's not a mother's imagining.
MIRIAM:You were telling us yesterday, Mary, about what the angel Gabriel had said to you...
MARTHA:I know, Miriam - the bit about how your Son, Jesus, would be called "the Son of the Most High".
MARY:I don't know if I should have told you that... I mean, he is all of that... because... because he was always more than just my Son!
MARTHA:How do you mean?
MARY:Do you remember the Baptiser?
MIRIAM:You mean John... ?
MARTHA:... the one who was beheaded for King Herod?
MARY:He said once, "He must increase and I must decrease."
MIRIAM:I remember hearing about that.
MARY:That's the way it must be with me too!
MARTHA:But your cousin Elizabeth - John's mother - called you blessed among women!
MARY:She did, the dear! But I was just the handmaiden of the Lord, and he, Jesus, increased. He lived as my obedient son, but was growing up, not for my business (and not for carpentry), but for his heavenly Father's business!
MIRIAM:You were so sad - so devastated - at the foot of the cross, even when he gave you into the care of John. I was wondering... I'm not sure... It's still too soon... Perhaps I shouldn't ask...
MARTHA:Miriam, ask your question! If it's what you shared with me yesterday, I don't think Mary will mind at all. Our horror at the death of Jesus is now tempered by the fact that he is alive!
MIRIAM:Mary, what were you thinking - there at the foot of the cross?
MARY:I saw the eyes of an old man with snowy hair and a flowing beard...
MARTHA:Are you sure you're all right, Mary?
MIRIAM:Perhaps I shouldn't have asked!
MARY:Simeon was his name. We met him in the temple on Jesus' eighth day.
MARTHA:You haven't told us about him before. What did he say?
MARY:"This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
MIRIAM:I see... A sword would pierce your soul!
MARTHA:And it did!
MARY:But now that he's alive, I remember something else too.
MARTHA:Do tell us!
MARY:Something Joseph said before we were married.
MIRIAM:So sad that your dear husband died before Jesus began his preaching!
MARY:Joseph was so confused when I told him I was going to have a baby. He didn't think I would be unfaithful, and yet he couldn't just accept my story either.
MARTHA:Joseph was always straight and strong.
MARY:He had a dream in which an angel told him my story was true, that he was to call the baby Jesus "because he will save his people from their sins."
MIRIAM:So there was good news in his dying on that cross!
MARY:I couldn't see it then, Miriam - not on the day he died!
MARTHA:And all these years you've kept these things tucked away in your heart!
MARY:That's right, Martha. And over these three years of Jesus' preaching we've all got things tucked away in our hearts!

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, © Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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