Mary and Joseph received visitors in both Luke (shepherds) and Matthew (wisefolk) after the birth of their son, but what they did next is not something I want to tie together in a historically accurate timeline. In the silence of Wernersville, I sit with each separately and imagine the possibilities of each. Take the child to the Temple or flee to save his life.
LUKE 2:22-38 First time I went with them to the Temple I was amazed at the awareness of Simeon and Anna.
Before going into silence, we chat at dinner where a woman is talking about Zen and mindlessness. I think I see what she was trying to say, but I am baffled, and say that I see it as mindfulness. The call to be present. The will power to be aware of God's unfolding creation. And later reclining in my easy chair, I find two servants of God whose eyes glance upon a poor couple with child and see the savior. I have it so much easier. Four Gospels, thousands of years of tradition and established churches are all here and now to tell me Jesus is my savior. Can I see it as clearly as they did?
Ten hours later I am again traveling with the family to the temple. I hear Simeon's speech to Mary as if it is being directed to me. It ends with these words "... and a sword will pierce your soul too." How did those words sit with Mary? How much for one woman to take? Anna enters the scene and knows that finally her savior has arrived and announces it to all who are seeking the redemption of Israel.
My handout for the spiritual exercises this week reminds me that my goal is to get to Know Jesus, to Love Jesus, and to Follow Jesus. That means I am headed to the cross. Mary will have much more to endure. Mother to a savior is painful business. I know the story, but for her it is still unfolding. But that does not mean that following him 2000 years later is easy.
It takes me to Julian whose sound byte is "all things will be well" But God starts by telling her, "I may make all things well."
Exactly one year ago I flew to California where my sister was suffering. Two strokes, a few blood clots, and then surgery to remove cancer from her ovaries had left her wiped out. The chemo had not even started. Would I have guessed that she would visit us 12 months later? Coming by herself? Are all things well? I don't know. But I do know our God given human bodies can heal in mystifying ways and if there is a 5 year survival rate, than some survive. Sophia renews all things. Jesus reconciles all things. We are small in the midst of all things, but we are a part of it. I think of the strength in my sister's hug after I fed her strudel a few days ago.
My stoic self melts.