JJ Heller reflects on motherhood, Mary and the crucifixion.

JJ Heller
JJ Heller

When my daughter, Lucy, was two years old she decided to see what would happen if she put her finger in the hinge of the refrigerator door as it shut. I remember the sound of her sobbing as she cradled her poor, tiny little finger like it was a wounded butterfly. Before I assessed the damage, I scooped her up and told her that I loved her and everything was going to be okay.

We whisked her off to the emergency room where they cleaned her wound and discovered a tiny fracture. It was traumatic for this first-time mama, but it could've been a whole lot worse! One of the hardest parts about being a parent is watching your child suffer. When they have a fever, a skinned knee or a scary dental appointment, all you want to do is make the pain go away.

Many years ago I watched Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and was moved by the portrayal of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Seeing her on the screen somehow made her come to life in a way I had never considered. As I watched the movie, I realised she was more than a one-dimensional Bible character. She was an actual mother whose baby boy was suffering and dying just a few feet in front of her.

I imagine that she was drowning in conflicting emotions as she stood there at the crucifixion watching the scene unfold. She must've been boiling with anger at the mob casting their insults at her perfect son, and maybe she was fearful about what the future would hold without Jesus in the world. But mostly, I imagine, she was overcome with grief.

How could she endure watching her child wracked with pain, knowing she was powerless to bring him comfort? When he cried out from thirst, how could she not remember the times she brought him a cup of water when he was a child? I can only assume that all she wanted to do was hold him, bind his wounds and tell him everything was going to be okay.

Sitting here 2000 years later, I have the advantage of knowing how the story turned out. I know that Jesus would come back to life three days later, defeating death once and for all. He would be the one to bind up Mary's wounds. He would be her living water, quenching her thirsty soul. He would do all of these things for her and the whole world so that we could know in our soul that He loves us and everything is going to be okay.  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.