Lately, I’ve been thinking about Mary, the chosen servant of the Most High God, who gave her the great and mysterious burden of carrying the Savior of the world in her womb and raising him. We tend to think of her now like the saint she is, noble, dutiful, full of truth and beauty and trusting like a child, because she wasn’t much more than one, when the angel gave her a crazy message. Some even worship and pray to her now, and while that’s not something I’ll go into here, it’s probably a far cry from what she experienced throughout her life.
She was “that” one. People HAD to think she was a couple cards short of a deck. (Did they have cards then?) The elevator didn’t go to the top floor. (they definitely didn’t have elevators.) What would they say? The camel doesn’t spit far from the sand? That doesn’t make sense. I have no idea what the 1st century middle eastern colloquialisms would have been. Suffice it to say she was cuckoo. (Um, cuckoos aren’t in that part of the globe, according to Wikipedia.) Oh never mind.
You would think that Mary felt a little vindicated that first time Jesus did a miracle. In fact, she was kinda sorta behind the whole thing, wasn’t she? I wonder if that little detail serves to remind us that Mary was waiting for all those years for a sign. Maybe we aren’t told much about Jesus’ life until then because it was so painfully ordinary. Maybe Mary was feeling like a fraud herself, wondering if anything really was going to happen. It’s all speculation, of course, but I can’t help but wonder myself if she was solidly mental by the time Jesus entered his “public ministry” phase of the plan. Finally! He’s performing miracles and teaching new, revolutionary ideas! Vindicated. For sure. Am I right?! (They definitely did not have hashtags then.)
Then forward to his death. #GoodFriday. There she was, standing at the foot of the cross, watching this son, this mystery, dying what seemed far before “his time.” She must have been beside herself in grief, not to mention confused as all get out. Wait, this makes no sense! How can this be? Oh, is he going to miraculously come down from the cross and wipe out all of Rome now? Um, ok, now? How about now? Now? Nope. Still there. This does not help me prove my story all these years. God, didn’t you say something about saving us? Remember that part where your angel said he would be on the throne and reign over Israel and stuff? And then I sang that song about Your mercy and feeding the hungry and poor and casting down the arrogant and mighty? Did I miss that happening? I don’t remember any thrones or crowns. I’m still waiting for vindication. I’m still waiting to be cleared of the doubt that has hung over me and my family all my life. I need people to know that I didn’t make all that up. *I* need to know that I didn’t make all that up.
I wonder if Mary really did know, the song notwithstanding. She knew stuff. But she couldn’t have really understood it. She couldn’t have guessed in her heart and mind that her son was going to die the way he did. She definitely could not have guessed that his death would save the world and all of history. And if she did come to know that and understand that, which many of his followers did, she would have elevated her insanity label to completely bonkers for the remainder of her days among the good, salt of the earth Jewish folk around her. I wonder if she had friends. I wonder if the ladies sat around and the moment she left the room it was all, Poor Mary. She was so committed, bless her heart. You mean she should have been committed, right? (har har) Good one. #MeanGirls
I count Mary among those who probably didn’t see vindication in her lifetime. Because even though she was alive to see her son crucified and raised to life again, which is, you know, pretty crazy, it was still clouded with doubt. It was a relatively small group who believed it at first, and it caused a great deal of alarm. I mean Jesus’ own mother and a woman of ill repute were the ones to see him alive first. Not your star witnesses in the trial of the century by a long shot. And yet, Jesus chose them. He chose women of lowly birth and station. He chose a prostitute. He chose a carpenter. He chose a tax collector and fishermen.
“Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain made low.”
We are praying for that day. When all who have humbled themselves to Jesus will be lifted up. When all who are arrogant and proud on their own two legs, thinking their lives have been built by their own two hands, will be wiped out. We pray for vindication and justice. But we pray for it, knowing that God is relenting from disaster, that he is patient and kind, that he is giving all of us more time, not wishing that any should perish! (2 Peter 3:9)
God will be vindicated. Make no mistake. But he is so good and so kind and so merciful that he waits. He waits for people to see the error of their ways. He gives so very many chances. He sends so very many rescue teams out, over and over, calling out, Oh Sinner! Come home! And so, if God can wait for his day, if he can bide his time, can I also wait for it with patience? Can I rest in the knowledge that if I am faithful, if I am growing in my wisdom and kindness and fruits in “keeping with repentance” (from Luke 3) then my vindication will be God’s vindication? That it is inevitable. That it will happen and not a moment too soon. #HashtagToEndAllHashtags
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!