Saturday, 21 March 2020

Lent 4: Mothering Sunday: Luke 2.33-35: Gillian Roberts

The child's father and mother marvelled at what was said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: 'This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.
As I read this, my immediate thought was -         

*  Don’t we all marvel at what is said of our children?
*  Don’t they amaze us?
*  Don’t we say, “Did we really produce her/him?”

But, unlike us, Mary hadn’t actually seen how He’d turn out at this point.  Jesus was still a baby!   And here is the holy man, Simeon, prophesying what He will be like and what the effect of His life will be.

Simeon’s warning came so soon after the birth of Jesus.

Had Mary already forgotten all that had gone before? 

Had she forgotten the startling announcement that she was to be the mother of GOD’S SON? 

Had she forgotten that the angel had said He would be great and called the Son of the Most High and would be King?
She had been so ready to be the Lord’s servant - “Do what You want in my life, Lord.”

She even wrote a worship song about how God was using her – an ordinary peasant girl!

But so much had happened since then.
·        *  the indignity
·       *   the harrowing journey,
·       *   the no room in the inn,
·       *   the birth,
·        *  the shepherds! 

Had this Child (GOD's son) become 'their' baby in so short a time?

And here was Simeon taking Him in his arms and praising God.
She and Joseph had followed the Law’s instructions and gone to the Temple.  Doing their duty to God.

But this was a blow!  She had forgotten …..

Interesting how God gives these reminders to us.

Have you forgotten whose you are, Mary? 

You said OK to Me. 

“Do what you want in my life”, you said. 

“This is MY Baby”, says God.

“This is ME – God - living in you”. 

And it will hurt.  This isn’t just privilege for you. Privilege always carries responsibility.  Mary’s was to keep this little one – care for Him. 

God says, 
·        *  I’ve come to save the whole of mankind. 
·       *   The Jewish people will misunderstand and try to hold Me for themselves and use Me for their own ends. 
·        *  The Gentiles will be amazed and a bit afraid because I don’t seem to be one of them. 
·        *  Those who think they’re somebody will realise that they’re not
·        and those who are self-deprecating will discover I want them – that God loves them. 
·        *  And it will break your heart the way I’m treated – and even the way you’re treated.

And I know you don’t understand…

She didn’t understand ….. but she treasured these things in heart and pondered on them

As you stand before Simeon, Mary, hearing his words about this little boy you’ve given birth to, you are amazed.  You are puzzled.  It all sounds so enormous.  Is it your son he’s talking about?  You have a lot to ponder – and treasure.

Life is filled with challenges.  Some of them seem enormous, others almost insignificant (especially to other people!)

And now you stand at the cross – still pondering.  Do you remember, Mary, the words of Simeon, 'a sword will pierce your own soul too?'
You’ve already been through so much.  Perhaps you thought the worst was over, because bit by bit it had happened. 
·        *  You’ve heard Your Son maligned – some (even you yourself) thought Him mad. 
·        *  The religious men thought He desecrated the Sabbath with His healings.  
·        *  He seemed to have no time for you, preferring to be with the sick and the obvious ‘sinners’. 
·        *  You’ve not understood what He was doing… You’ve pondered about it all…

Adrian Snell’s song from, “The Passion”, captures your feelings

Son of my heart where are you roaming?
I have wandered many paths in search of you
Rising with the sun as the early flowers open
You wander lonley through our country
With words I cannot understand
Son of my heart.

Son of my life I love you dearly
Love so deep I don't know how to say
I want you close to my heart and walking by me
Yet ways are strange, your people change
Son of my life,
Son of my life.

Son of the world I was your mother
Mine was the pain that once unlocked you to the world
And now I see a stranger held in chains and taken from me
What words remain when daylight fades
Son of the world.

And now I see a stranger held in chains and taken from me
Where is the child I gave my life to?
What words remain when daylight fades
Son of the world

Yet at the cross, with her heart breaking with sorrow – the sword had pierced her heart – Jesus, her son and God’s Son, looked after her future by giving her into the care of His friend, John.  Later, she would join the disciples as they waited for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The mother Mary would carry her Son again in Spirit.


Mother-to-be or not-to-be,
That, for Mary, was not the question.
No, all the life she had formerly supposed
Still stretched out clear before her, unenclosed.
Mother-to-Him or not-to Him was her specific invitation –
Would she give her life to bring His life to her nation,
Carry His life into her everyday everythings,
Let this divine bearing determine all her bearings?

Our invitations come similarly personalised,
Our self-imagined futures still open before our eyes.
Ours then similarly to decide –
Will we let Him grow great inside,
Give our life to bring His life to our situation,
Trust Him to bring peace to our anxious nation,
Carry His life into our everyday everythings,
And sing there with joy whatever song He sings?

Mark Greene, Advent 2019

And what of us, this Lent?

Did we say, “Yes”, to God many years ago?

Did we understand what that might mean?

Have we known the heartbreak as we've shared His sufferings of His being rejected, maligned, misunderstood?

Mark Green's poem reminds us that it's still our role to 'let Him grow great inside' and to give Him birth into our communities in our living and loving and suffering.

Listen to Son of my heart on YouTube at

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