Holy Saturday

MARY’S ANGUISH

Jehovah, God,
Had I known, had I known
Would I have chosen to bear this child?
Could I have chosen this?

I was young when urged to your service
So young when I praised you in song.
Giddy with anticipation, I carried
The hope of my people.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,” I said.
“Rejoices in God my Savior.”

I awaited his birth as now
I await the first day’s sun . . .
Filled with questions concerning his life.
How? I wondered
How will the people recognize their king?

I watched
I believed
I prayed
I sang.

“He has regarded the low estate of his handmaid.
Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”
HO! My Savior!

Forgive and count not against me this bitter laughter.
I am not Sarah, for I believed.
I craved the impossible coming, and tucked into my heart
All confirmations of this child’s destiny.
I believed my portion to be blessed.

Blessed? Oh, God!
My blessing has sealed a horror,
Has lifted no one – save my son to shameful death.
I am no queen-mother. And he?
King of mockery and confusion.
Where is the coronation?
The promise of celebration?

       Father,
From my body,
From my breast,
From my heart, he was wrenched.
Are all wombs barren of saviors and prophets?
Are Messiah’s works and kingdom forever silenced by a sealing stone?

Oh! That the deeds of Jesus
Might now somehow benefit him.
That Cana’s wine
Would flow on his behalf.

That dear Lazarus
Could stem his own shocked weeping
And grant my son, in turn, the grace of second breath.
That Life,
So generously lent to others,
Might shake his human body stilled beneath a shroud.
Lord, my God,
Quiet my spirit, three days locked in grief,
Three days bound to memory of his death,
Bound to mixed sounds –

Bells upon the skirts of pious Sadducees,
Claps of iron, driven into his flesh
Cries of priests and drunken guards,
Moans of watching women.

Ah, Mighty hand of Mercy,
Was he not, by your command, called Jesus?
God-man?
Prince of peace, Ruler of a never-ending kingdom?
Do you not see the price of Rachel’s weeping?

Relieve this cup of bitter loss,
Reclaim my heart,
Console your handmaid, aged and robbed of song.

Jehovah,
The First Day dawns,
A grave requires care.
I ask for myself what you once promised Israel,
That you lead me in a path I have not known.
Turn the darkness before me into light.

As you lift the morning sun,
Lift my heart.