This leaves us with lots of time on our hands. Way, way too much screen time for everyone! It would be so much better if I could just say, "Go play outside!" but this really isn't an option.
One of the good things about all of this time is I can read whenever I want to. I have been reading Faces at the Cross by J. Barrie Shepherd. I am reading this for Lent, which began last week. The book has more than 40 entries that are written in the first person. These are all people who were there during the Crucifixion. The entry I want to share with you is J. Barrie Shepherd's interpretation of what was going through Mary Magadelene's mind during the crucifixion.
The Face of Magdalen
So did we love him wrongly, after all?
Could this grim horror have been prevented?
Might it have never had to happen,
if we, if I, had only figured out the right way
to respond to all the love we found,
and felt and feasted on him.
His love was unconditional,
always there for me,
even when he might have been provoked,
annoyed or disappointed
in something I had said or done,
an attitude to others.
Our love -
mine I do know about, for sure -
our love was always eager to possess.
We loved him, those of us who got close enough,
just as one might love a thing of beauty,
cherishing its grace and loveliness, needing to reach out and grasp it,
have it be at our disposal,
ready to be enjoyed at any moment.
He said his love, God's love,
was just like that,
was always there for us,
shining on us like the sun,
and would never let us down.
We didn't have to make it ours,
lock it up and throw away the key,
couldn't do that anyway,
because God's love can not be held,
can only be received and passed along.
And right then,
when we were with him,
where he was tell us all this,
we could believe it, at least I could.
he wasn't always there
and then the doubts began again.
You see, love is such a basic thing,
being loved is so important that,
if you can't be certain sure God loves you
then you just have to love yourself.
You have to watch out all the time
to make sure you don't get hurt.
You have to realize,
accept the fact that everybody else
is busy loving their own selves.
So you can never fully trust them
because finally, when a life is on the line,
they will want it to be yours,
rather than theirs.
See what happened to him.
See where his God-love got him in the end.
Do you suppose he still believes in it up there?
Do you think, with all the hurt and hate
He's seen these past few hours,
he still hangs on to what he taught,
and walked and worked at with us
all those weeks and months
that seemed to be leading toward forever
till they ended with a crash?
Now even the two thieves
are cursing at him in their desperation.
Why must they pick on him?
Didn't they know?
His suffering's as bad as theirs,
and he's done nothing to deserve it.
Just to listen to them argue,
even up there when all is lost
they can't agree on anything it seems.
One of them is defending Jesus,
asking him to bless him in his death?
And jesus is assuring him or paradise,
blessing the legionaries too
as they gamble for his seamless robe.
What love is this?
What wondrous love is this?
Of all the miracles
I've witnessed these past months,
the miracle he brought about in my own life,
this is the richest, truest of them all.
Even death, this cruel, bloody death,
cannot quench the flow of God's love in this man,
this man I love, and learn to in God by.
His body weakens fast now.
It's getting harder and harder for him to breathe.
And yet the love, God's love in him,
goes on, and on, and on.
It's almost as if that love can never die;
almost as if, beyond the grave,
God's love in him will still go on,
will still be with me giving strength
to love the way he did,
even to die the way he dies,
God grant it may be so.
One thing I know,
whether we loved him wrong or not,
he loved us right.
Christ loves us in a way we can barely comprehend. He endured the cross for us. I am more and more certain of my own sinfulness as I walk through this life, but Jesus died to change all that. His arms are stretched out toward you. Accept his gift!