Thursday, 14 April 2011

Lent teaches us ... the meaning of sacrifice

We never know what life may throw at us, but we do know that Jesus, our Saviour, faced all that we could ever be asked to face and more. His was the supreme sacrifice, but it is perhaps easier to grasp the enormity of what he did by looking at the repercussions it had on those around him. This was brought home to me some years ago when I first read the poem below.

Two Mothers

Long, long ago, so legends relate,
Two Mothers once met at an old city gate.
“By the look in your eyes,” said the one to the other,
“I see that you, too, must have once been a Mother.
And by the blue-tinted veil in your hair,
You, too, have known sorrow and deepest despair.”

“Ah, yes,” she replied, “I once had a son,
A sweet little lad, full of laughter and fun.
But tell of your child” ...

– “Oh, I knew he was blest
From the moment I first held him close to my breast.
And my heart almost burst with the joy of that day.”

“Ah, yes,” said the other, “I felt the same way.”

The former continued, “The first steps he took,
So eager and breathless – the sweet startled look
Which came over his face. He trusted me so.”

“Ah, yes,” said the other, “I felt the same glow.”

“How often I shielded and spared him from pain,
And when he for others so cruelly was slain.
When they crucified him and spat in his face,
How gladly I would have hung in his place!”

A moment of silence – “Oh, then you are she,
The Mother of Christ, and she fell on one knee.

But the blessed one raised her up, drawing her near,
And kissed from the cheek of the woman a tear.

“Tel me the name of the son you loved so,
That I may share with you your grief and your woe.”

She lifted her eyes, looking straight at the other:
“He was Judas Iscariot. I am his Mother.”

Author unknown

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, but was able to say in the end "Father Forgive". We are so familiar with his story that we don't always comprehend the reality of his sacrifice - or the effect that it had on his friends and family. How many of us could measure up to his example as his mother does in the poem? As human beings are we really - really - prepared to walk with Jesus, following his example?

I know that, however hard I try, my attempts to live according to his will are pathetic. But equally I know that Jesus holds me, and loves me, and encourages me to keep putting one foot in front of the other as I go forward on my journey with him.

So often it is through the wisdom and guidance of others that Jesus makes himelf known to us. And so often it is those who we meet along the way that bring Jesus to life in us.

And so this Easter, let us all thank God for those people who walk with us through the good times and the bad; and for those we are privileged to walk alongside, sharing their journeys; and let us pray for strength to meet whatever sacrifices are required of us, knowing that we do not do it alone, but in his strength, and the strength of those around us. Amen.

It is a thing most wonderful,
Almost too wonderful to be,
That God’s own Son should come from Heav’n,
And die to save a child like me.

And yet I know that it is true;
He chose a poor and humble lot,
And wept, and toiled, and mourned, and died,
For love of those who loved Him not.

I cannot tell how He could love
A child so weak and full of sin;
His love must be most wonderful,
If He could die my love to win.

It is most wonderful to know
His love for me so free and sure;
But ’tis more wonderful to see
My love for Him so faint and poor.

And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
Oh, light the flame within my heart,
And I will love Thee more and more,
Until I see Thee as Thou art.

1 comment:

  1. Love the second poem. I visited the Fresh Expressions Labryinth at St Oswalds, which is similar to stations of the cross, but with 12 stations. Lit a couple of candles at two of the stations but noticed they were guttering and barely alight, an apt metaphor for the state of my Chrisian Life in the last few years. Really need the 'flame in my heart' rekindling. Thanks Rachel for these encouraging words



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