Sunday, 31 March 2019

Mother of the World

There's always a certain irony, maybe circularity, in the placement of the Feast of the Annunciation in Lent, or even occasionally on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. Mary is given the promise of a son - and then has him taken away.

And Mothering Sunday is full of flowers and chocolates - who would have a reading about pain and death? But that's what we get. How like Jesus, in his dying moments, to ensure that Mary is cared for. And how like a mother, to be there at the cross.

In the end, the closest, most perfect Mother - is God. In the Annunciation, God gives up all things to be a human being. God - in whom we live, and move, and have our being - God becomes a thing that lives, and moves, and has being, within Mary's womb. The roles are reversed as God takes on our nature.

And Mary - the one who has held one who holds the universe - she now knows the sword that Simeon saw, in her heart. The one who grew inside her, whom she nurtured, whom she fed and taught and fretted and cared for. He is broken on a cross. She can't mop up that much blood, can't wipe away those tears, can't kiss this better and make it go away.

In a short while she will hold his body one - as she thinks - last, tender time. And see him pass away into what she thinks is just a grave. But it is in fact, in its way, another womb. She will see him again, and know his living Spirit.

Her pain was so brief, and yet so terrible. His pain so deep. And yet through the pains of the Cross, and the womb of that grave, God brings new life to birth again. With  Mary, we now all wait for the rebirth of the whole world - and ourselves. And though pain still lies ahead, yet we know in God our Mother that we have an eternal hope.

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