Mary’s Story.


Kathleen Heppell
Selah Companion

Gasping for breath, silent tears pour down my face. My lungs… My heart…  Feeling crushed. Never taking my eyes from my son hanging upon a cross.

He struggles for breath. The weight of his body, held only by nails in his hands, sinks low, pushing up with his pierced feet against a piece of wood; he gasps for precious air.

I hear the religious leaders, and soldiers jeering, mocking, “If you are the King of Israel, come down from the cross, and then we will believe.” Soldiers play a game for one to have his cloak. Hardened to another death of someone they see as having no importance, another imposter, a threat to the peace of Jerusalem.

John, one of Jesus’s disciples, stands beside me. My son looks down, saying, “Dear woman, here is your son.” To John, he says, “Here is your mother.”  I am grateful for his care. Even now, on the cross, he thinks of my welfare as his agony becomes more extreme. Death draws closer. The sky darkens as if it is night. My agony grows. I will not leave my son!

“It is finished!” I hear him cry in a loud voice. How can his words be heard when he has struggled for every breath? His throat parched?

He is dead. Oh, my son! Cruelty continues as a spear is dug into his side, blood pouring out.

The earth shakes hard. The sky turns black. Is the world ending? At this moment, I feel like my world has ended.

Still, I wait; I will not leave. Exhaustion and grief fill every part of me. Then, finally, Joseph of Arimathea comes for my son. The soldiers struggle to get the cross down and remove the nails.

Shabbat begins soon. They must work fast. He is wrapped in a burial cloth with a few herbs and spices.

Carried by men who love him, we follow to learn where the grave will be.

Gently, his body is laid in what was to be Joseph’s tomb. I will return with other women once Shabbat has been celebrated to prepare his body properly.

Our little band returns to where we have been staying. Exhausted. Crushed. Confused. Words are inadequate for my pain.

Shabbat.  A day of rest for Jehovah and all of Israel following the six days of creation. This is not a peaceful rest day for me, yet comfort comes in celebrating Shabbat. Familiar. Sacred. Turning to Jehovah. Worshipping Him! Pouring out my grief, feeling the piercing of my side, my heart. Though nothing makes sense now, He has always been faithful to His people Israel…to Joseph… to me…to Jesus… God’s son.

I wait for the sun to rise on the first day of the week. Then I will go to my son’s grave to prepare his body properly. To mourn.

Exhausted, two women go with me to the grave. We don’t know how we will roll the stone away. We are not sure if the Roman soldiers will let us in. We trust God to make a way…

The entrance is open. The soldiers are gone. The tomb is empty! Where have they taken my son’s body? We cannot find him—one shock after another. Feeling frantic, we depart quickly to tell the disciples. Only later do I hear He is risen. My heart so heavy is lifted as I shout: He is risen. I recall Jesus’ promise he would rise on the third day.

My heart rejoices! I can hardly wait to see him!

We invite you to get to know Selah

Kairos Online

Every Friday
10-11 a.m.
on Zoom

Coming together online each week, the community of Kairos provides a unique contemplative experience with a spiritual practice and breakout group that shares the time through silence, art, music, and teaching. Kairos opens up space to encounter the Spirit, one another, and oneself through God’s inviting presence.

Search “Kairos” in the Events Calendar for the next Kairos event on the Selah Center website. There you can register for the Zoom link.
-Debora Buerk, Editor