Today is Good Friday. It is the last Friday before Easter. The last Friday during Lent and the Friday that Christians who observe Lent both fast and abstain on. Fasting meaning we eat two small meals and one large meal and nothing in between and Abstain meaning that we eat no meat. It is the day we honor the sacrifice God gave to us by giving us his only son and letting him die so that our sins maybe forgiven. It is also about the sacrifice Jesus Himself made. He gave his own life so that we could have life ever lasting. It is a solemn day if we truly reflect on it's events and meaning. If you think about it, it is this one selfless act that sets the believers apart from the non-believers.
The one thing about Good Friday that seems a little overlooked to me though, is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Yes, God gave his only son, but so did she. Mary had such faith in God that when she learned that she would be carrying His son, she never faltered. From the moment when the angel spoke to her, her life was not an easy one. She was pregnant and unwed (an act punishable by death), she delivered her child in a stable after a horrendous journey while pregnant, and as a family they had to run from those who wished her son dead. Still, through it all, she never faltered in her faith in God nor her love for her son.
Mary had to know that carrying the Son of God would not be a walk in the park and she really knew no more about this child's life than any parent does. She knew who his father was and that this child would grow to be a great man, but she knew no more than that. I am sure that Mary had times of domestic happiness being married to Joseph and raising her son. I am also sure that she was of such great faith that rather than wonder and worry about the future, she knew that God's plan was unfolding as it should, in the time that it should. What mother wouldn't give anything to replace worry and fear about their children, with the complete faith that it was all part of a bigger plan? I know I try, but I am no Mary.
As Jesus entered manhood, Mary like all mothers had to let go. Her son took off on long journeys to fulfill the life destined to him and there were no cellphones or even a postal service for her to keep in touch or know that her boy was safe. Again, she had to rely on complete faith in the fact that....her son was part of a much bigger plan. God's plan. Although Mary was especially chosen by God to be the mother of his son, she was still very much human and as a mother, you know that she thought of her son often, prayed for him and yes, I would imagine worried too. It is part of the mother code. We can't help but worry and I know she was no different.
When Good Friday rolled around, I can't imagine the pain that Mary felt seeing her son beaten, bruised and bloodied and know that He would soon be put to death. Watching the torture and seeing her son fall and get back up, all the while knowing that somehow this was God's plan had to be excruciating. It was not only God's son suffering it was also her son and her heart had to have been breaking into a million pieces over and over again. Then, she watched him die. For anyone to watch their child die, would be almost more than a mothers heart could take, but to watch your child be tortured and then murdered while others looked on and cheered and to know you were helpless to change this course of events would have had to have been devastating.
Yes, we know that on the other side of this, Mary's son became the greatest Man of all time. His death ensured life for all Christians until the end of time, but regardless of the outcome.....on that day.....she suffered. She suffered the pain and agony of a mother losing a child in such a cruel and heartless way and I am sure knowing that it was God's will still didn't take away the pain of it all. I wonder if she ever felt as she watched Him die, that she had given her life to God and now she had lost the most precious piece of her earthly world and she was left to go on alone? It might be how I would feel in those moments of unprocessed grief as a mother who had just lost her world. Perhaps though, Mary's faith was so strong that she knew that in God's hands there was a higher purpose for all of this and all would soon be as it should. Again....what I wouldn't give for that kind of faith.
So yes, when I think of Good Friday, I do think of the Passion of Christ, his torment, torture and suffering until his moment of death. I think of God, giving the life of his beloved Son for all of us so that we may have eternal life. However, I also think of Mary. I think of her sorrow, her pain and her agony over watching her beautiful son be brutalized, tortured, ridiculed and ultimately murdered. As a mother....I can only imagine that pain and pray that in my times of despair my faith can be a tenth as strong as hers.
Today, as the clock nears 3 p.m. and as you reflect on this day, please don't forget Mary. Remember her sorrow, her strength and most of all....her faith!