My Lenten Devotional

Our church asked for congregation members to contribute a devotion during Lent.  Here is mine….

By Kathy Gardner

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.
32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;
33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.


I’ve heard the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection more times than I’ve heard any other story in my life, and Jesus’ prophecy in Luke is about as clear on the story as it gets. Since my daughter Tinsley came into the world at 32 weeks without a heartbeat, though, the story I hear now is a bit different.

The story I hear now includes Mother Mary.

We speculate how much Mary truly knew, understood, or believed what was going to happen, as Scripture doesn’t give us any definitive answers.

What we do know, though, is that she watched her son endure an agonizing death. Even if Jesus told her flat out – “Hey, it’s true I’m going to be brutally killed, but I’ll be back, and it’ll all be okay, I promise!” what human mother in her humanness could 100% accept that? Could believing in the promise of the Resurrection have been enough to make witnessing his death anything other than a completely excruciating experience? Um, no.

In the long months after Tinsley’s death I lived in Good Friday, but I took comfort knowing that Mother Mary had lived there, too. She faced the humanness of that barbaric day, which perhaps (perhaps not) was made more bearable by Jesus’ last words to her, by the promise of Sunday to come.

But still, she grieved. She wept at the foot of His cross like any mother weeps for her dead child. And because she was human, I believe in the midst of her maternal pain, she had doubt… but she is my example that hope can still live under the crushing weight of immeasurable sorrow that comes when your child’s heart stops beating.

Dear God, in the midst of earthly pain and loss, help me welcome the confusion, despair, and anger of Good Friday like Mary did. Give me the strength to live through Saturday. But help me believe in the Truth that Sunday comes. Sunday always comes.

Mother Mary weeping with me
Last spring I couldn’t hear any kind of message
of hope or birth — only death.
Easter was just an idea in the future,
but I was living and breathing in Good Friday.
I joined hearts with Mother Mary
who wept with me at the foot of Tinsley’s grave.
She became my comfort and my salvation,
she has not left my side.
But this spring I started hearing Easter’s message again —
that death is a movement towards new life,
it is not the end.
And I can let that hope settle in my bones for a bit,
as Henry breathes up and down against my chest.
But this afternoon I will still go sit and weep by Tinsley’s grave,
and Mary Mother will still be there
weeping with me.

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