Shouting Stones: Songs of the Women

Growing up in a home like this, it doesn't surprise me that Jesus' ministry was always filled with songs. Some people came because they had heard about all the miracles Jesus performed. Others were attracted to his teaching. As we all went from place to place, village to village, we all sang together:

Come we that love the Lord and let our joys be known. Join in a song of sweet accord, We're marching to Zion, beautiful beautiful Zion

And sometimes it's still hard to believe that little Jesus is the one. Sometimes, I look at his face and I see Mary's baby. It's hard to think of him as prophet or Savior. But when he bade the paralyzed man to walk, or he walked across the water, there was no doubt. Then he talked about putting new wine in new bottles and he talked about the way that our faith was like planting seeds in bad soil or good ground. He made everything fit together and he spoke like he knew . . . he spoke with authority. Only our Messiah could attract people like that. And only God could give such wisdom.

There was a magnificent power around Jesus. There was no hunger, illness, blindness, or demons around Jesus. But to be around Jesus was to be around people and to be around a rich folk tradition. It was to be around a real man of God, a good Jew.

When did it change? I don't remember. Maybe it was when that woman came in with all the nard. For the first time, instead of being surrounded by the sounds and smells of life, we smelled death.

It was as if that was the beginning of the end. No more large and lavish meals. No more singing. Jesus withdrew. He celebrated Passover with only twelve. He went into the garden to pray by himself. When they questioned him, he was silent.

We were still celebrating Passover in our homes when we heard. But by that time it was too late. Where were the men? Where were Peter and Judas and Matthew? Why didn't they do something to stop all this? Why? But there was no time for questions. We had to get to Golgotha.

We all ran together—me, Mary and Mary and Salome and all the others. But by the time we arrived, he was already on the cross.

It was an ugly scene. Blood was everywhere. They actually put thorns on his head. People were shouting and shouting: "You that destroyed the temple and built it up in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross."

And they teased and spat and yelled at Jesus. Mary's baby! Our Jesus! Our . . . our messiah!

And then, I heard him. Clear as a bell. At first it was soft, and he said it like a proclamation. "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"

We recognized it immediately, and began to sing with him. We sang the blues song Jesus had learned from us:

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child! Sometimes I feel like a motherless child. A long ways from home.

We gathered around him. The crowds yelled and Jesus was dying. It would soon be our turn to get the nard and wrap his body. But for then, we surrounded him with our songs, the sacred songs of his people. And I know he heard us and felt better. I know it made him feel closer to home. In my heart, I know that this song connected him to God, to Mother God! Sing with me . . .

4/13/2011 4:00:00 AM
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