Tuesday, February 12, 2008

THE SWORD OF SIMEON

“THE SWORD OF SIMEON”
BY PRESBYTERIAN GAL
(I wrote this two years ago. I was going to perform it. But I never did. Here it is for this Lenten season. A bit early. But I'm not going to post for awhile)

(Mary, the mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross on Calvary.)


(Eyes closed) I take it back...take it back. Choose another. I want to open my eyes in my 14 year old body, with my mother and father asleep in the next room.....before the angel.

(Opens eyes. To God) How can you expect me to live with this? Watching my son bleeding, beaten...dying. I don’t understand. You cannot have intended this.

This is my child. This body carried him, delivered him into this world, nursed him, held him, sang to him. Bandaged him when he fell, bathed him when he was dirty, soothed his tears, and oh....oh how I loved him. Love him. Now...this....I can’t fix this and it’s.....

All those signs so long ago. Joseph and I always believed, knew that he was destined for God’s work. But not this. This makes no sense.

Except for Simeon’s warning. No woman just delivered of a child wants to hear what Simeon had to say. “This child is destined to be a sign which men reject, and you too shall be pierced to the heart”. I didn’t listen then. Didn’t want to. But I remember it now. And how many times did that come true.

(Now, to Jesus) From the very beginning. Running, hiding from Herod - to Egypt, so far from our home. Terrified he would find you and kill you.

And coming home from Jerusalem when you were 12. Believing you safe, walking with your friends only to find you missing. Thinking you lost, or worse. I was so angry when we found you in the temple. Joseph had to hold my arm back from striking you. And you, standing there teaching, teaching the scholars and doctors of the law. As if you had studied years longer than they. And how they listened to you! With such respect...this did not register with me until later. I only saw my fear, then anger.

Anger and then pain hearing you say, so simply, “didn’t you know I’d be here in My Father’s house?”. Rejecting our home. The home Joseph and I worked so hard to make safe and happy. And Simeon’s sword turned in my heart again.

Then life was so peaceful. Happy even. Watching as Joseph taught you how to be a carpenter. You were so good at it. I still use the matzoh board you made for me. I see yet your little boy’s face shining when you gave it to me.

You were good with the business too. Your father.....Joseph was always so proud of you....as was I.

I had forgotten, almost, the circumstances of your birth. Then Simeon’s words came true again.
Joseph died and you made sure I was provided for from the business I always thought you would run. And you left.

For those forty days...if I’d only known where you were I would not have worried so much.
No one could tell me where you were. Just that you’d seen your cousin, John. John baptized you in the Jordan. A dove appeared from nowhere above your head and the voice of God was heard declaring you His Son. Then no one knew where you’d gone.

You came back, finally. But you were different. And everything was changed with us.
You called people to you. And they came. They found you. And you started to preach about the Kingdom of God being at hand. Oh, you were so good. How the people listened. Such large crowds.

And the miracles. So many miracles. And you, always humble and just matter of fact. Always surprised by the awe and wonder in the peoples’ eyes. Saying it is of little consequence, how anyone can do miracles. God can do so much more. Calming the storm of all my questions. As if I were now the child.

Then the study and the talking till all hours of the night. Such urgency with you, as if each day was....well.

Then I came to visit with you and not even unpacked yet, our relative goes to get you. I heard you then, did you know that? I heard you say “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers and sisters? The one who does the will of my father is mother, brother and sister to me”. As if I had never loved you, mothered you. What pain I felt again from Simeon’s sword.

But I didn’t leave. I stayed. In the background. Trying to understand. Finally, finally I saw that you were not rejecting me. You were preaching to me as well as your followers that God is what matters most. Following God. And all who follow, including me, are your family.

It took so long because I believed that in order to hear your message I had to give up memories of being your mother and you, my son. I didn’t realize that it could be both, together. And that you were giving me a wonderful gift - a huge family to love and look after. But I always pictured you here, with us. Not dying, .....before me, now.

(Back to God) This is too much for me, please. Oh God, no. I cannot release him. You spared Abraham, why not me? Why can’t I die with him Lord? Please. Let me die here too.

(To God) You expect too much of me, your “bless-ed” among women. How am I to see you as a loving God in this? I don’t understand. How does this kind of pain serve you?
 
(Pause)
(Listening)
What’s that son? What are you saying? John? I am John’s mother. John is now my son? What cruelty is this? No! No....no.

Oh....oh my. I think I see. (Looking around) I see your followers. Scattered. Confused. The same ones always coming to me with questions about you. Needing comfort. (Looks up) This is why isn’t it? This is why I cannot die with you. And why you need to know that John will care for me. Ah, yet my sweet son.

(Looks up) How is this now? The sky turns dark in the afternoon? But there are no clouds. (Realizes)

Not yet God. There must be another way, please. Yet I cannot stand to see him suffer so. Do not take him from me! Please!

What? He will never be taken from me? How can that be?
How can I let go when it rips my heart in two? How? ....But I must?

(Sighs) I suppose I’ve always known...deep down, somehow, that the path would lead here.
A beginning of a new world....an end for mine. Yet my beginning too. It’s too much today.
Forgive me, my son. Forgive me God. Know that I do not like this. But I will submit to your will. You came from God, now you return.

Yes, it is finished.

14 comments:

Red_Cleric said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing this.

Alan

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

*tears*

SpookyRach said...

absolutely stunning.

Rev Kim said...

Yes, stunning. Thank you.

Barbara B. said...

wow

soul and culture said...

wow. powerful.

Sue said...

Beautiful PG. So beautiful.

the reverend mommy said...

beautiful.

Diane said...

wow wow

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

my attention span is short right now - so i haven't read this but will...

just wanted to say 'hey' and let ya know i'm liftin' prayers up for you. enjoy your blog-break. may God guide you and provide you with peace...

zorra said...

This is so powerful.
Prayers for you and Wonderboy during this blog break.

Gannet Girl said...

Well done!

Kievas said...

Powerful, very human and yet divine...thanks for sharing this!

tracy said...

Wow. This told well, always moves me. Thinking about Mary is even more...to take in on many levels. Thank you for the reminder.