Sunday, January 22, 2006

Vignettes - Mary at the Cross

She didn't recognize him. Bruised, bloody, beaten.

He stumbled under the weight of the thick splintered cross. Wind tunneled down the narrow street, billowing his blood soaked robe. Flesh hung and she could see the jagged edges of his skin and muscle. She could see through to the bone. Bile rose in her throat and tears streamed down her face without restraint. What had they done to him? Why?

The man she loved, whose feet she washed with her tears. They tried him as a common criminal. Battered and humiliated him beyond belief. For what? For loving them? For healing them?

The jeering and mocking of the crowd pounded in her head like the wild beating of drums and she wanted to scream. "Stop! Leave him alone!"

Isn't that how he defended her the night she washed his feet with her perfume? "Leave her alone," he commanded Judas and the others. "She's done this for my burial."

She knew then of his complete acceptance, his unending love. His eyes never left her face. No man ever looked at her the way he did. Pure. Without demand. Without lust. Now, oh now. She dared to look at him again. He'd fallen and his blood stained the cobblestones.

"Get up!" The soldier demanded, kicking his ribs.

Pain gripped his battered face. He tried to rise, but the cross tipped off his shoulder and he stumbled again.

Help him. Help him.

Then, there, his hand, reaching out to her. His eyes were swollen closed, but his hand, trembling, red and dripping, reaching. To her? His friend. My friend.

"You! Carry the cross." The soldier jerked a man from the crowd. He tripped and fell before him, but with such care, took up his cross. Blood fell on the man's clothes, his hands and feet.

She followed the procession to the hill. Sobbing, uncontrollable, helpless to stop them as they nailed his hands, his feet to the splintered tree. He flinched with each blow of the hammer, but not once, not once did he cry out.

Willing he went, she now knew. But why? He's innocent. So beautiful.

She stood at the foot of his cross, and with one last breath, he gazed down at her. There were others, crowding around, but she felt as if he saw her alone.

He struggled to see as the blood from the thorns seeping down. She dared, reaching up to touch his battered, pierced foot. He sighed when she touched him.

Any other time, any other man, she would not have recognized him. But there, in his eyes, she saw her true love. His lips parted. A smile. Did he smile? In the midst of such suffering, did he smile? At me?

Then she understood, with every part of her being, the purpose of this Man. More than the night she wiped his feet with her hair. More than when she looked at his face and he silenced her accusers. His purpose is complete and utter love, without condition.

Nothing could separate them now. Not even death.


Will H. Donaldson Family said...

See, I just gave you a small "plug" on mine and Deanna's site telling of your wonderful perspective and before I could tell you about it you prove exactly what I meant! Fantastic!

Pammer said...

That is beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. A lot of times we seem to forget exactly how much he really loves us. To put us there with Mary was a perfect way to bring it back into focus. Keeping our eyes on the Cross, but remembering how He loves us.

Great post.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Wow Rach, that was beautiful.