Holy Saturday – The Other Mary

Each day this week we hear from one of the main characters in the gospel reading appointed for the day, as I imagine they might speak. I hope this will help engage your own imagination as you walk this story with Jesus. You can listen to this reflection here.

The Other Mary: That’s what I’m called in these accounts of Jesus’ death – “The Other Mary.” Like these gospel writers couldn’t bother to get my full name or where I’m from. I’m not Mary, Jesus’ mother; nor Mary of Bethany or Mary of Magdala. I am Mary, mother of James. And I was there.

I watched them murder him. I watched his mother’s agony, watching him in agony. I heard the scoffers and the mockers. I saw them take his body down. I helped wrap him in a clean cloth and went along to the tomb that Joseph so generously offered for our use. There was no time to prepare his body – the sabbath was about to begin, and this is the Passover sabbath. We had to put his body somewhere safe until this sabbath is over. We will be there at dawn on Sunday with our spices and ointments to anoint him for a proper burial.

But now we must wait. Doing nothing. This is the worst sabbath I have ever endured. I love my sabbaths – the God-commanded day of rest when I can put down my cooking and cleaning and mending and tending. My only chores are feeding my family and our animals; the rest of the time I can nap, or read, or walk slowly enough to notice the new growth on the fields and trees, appreciate the birds and creatures around me. God’s greatest gift, this sabbath day each week.

But not this week. To bear this weight of pain and loss, with no tasks to distract us? To have nothing to do BUT think and talk and remember how our Lord we loved so much, who gave us so much, was tortured to death for no reason but to protect the pride and arrogance of insecure men? To have nothing to hold back the waves of feelings that threaten to drown us – terror, rage, confusion, and sorrow, sorrow so deep I don’t think we’ll ever get to the end of it. What have they done? How will we live?

So I will sit, and feel what I don’t want to feel. I will rest, like God rested on the seventh day. Was he gathering up his energy to create even more new life?
What would new life even look like, now?

Will you spend this day in Sabbath time – resting, walking, praying, not doing anything productive? That is one of the best ways to honor Jesus and prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter Day…
 You are welcome to join our Great Vigil of Easter service online tonight at 8 pm here.

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