Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Woman, behold they son!"

I read Hauerwas' take on the the third word with great interest. Most Protestants, myself included, struggle a bit on the right place of Mary in our conversations about Jesus and our understanding of our faith. In my rejection of the veneration of Mary, it is too easy to make her a Biblical side note, just one of a host of the names and faces we encounter along side of Jesus in the New Testament. But, here on the cross we see Jesus specifically address his mother.

As Hauerwas notes, many have speculated that his call to Mary and in invitation of the beloved disciple to see Mary, was an act of care and compassion on his part. They argue that Jesus wants to insure the ongoing care of his mother. While this position has merit, I was taken by Hauerwas' view. It is compelling. "Jesus' 'behold your son' asked Mary to witness the immolation of the Son, to enter the darkness of the cross, yet to hold fast to the promises she had received from the Spirit that this is the one who will scatter the proud, bring down the powerful from their thrones, fill the hungry with good things, and fulfill the promises may to Abraham and his descendants. Her son, the Messiah, will do all of this from the cross." (p52-53)

Mary comes as one who has been faithful to the call of God. Mary comes as a vital part of the story of Jesus. Mary also embraced Jesus' fulfilment His call and stood at the foot of the cross as a witness of this grand grace act of God. Mary comes as a member of the family of faith born in the resurrection. We too find our place in that family of faith. May we gaze at the cross and see the fulfillment of God's promises and an act of redemption that would change history - and change all of us who call him Savior.

Grace and Peace, Tom

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