Children fight and queue up to be Mary in the Christmas play but don’t understand there was a price to pay.  For Mary’s purity and innocence was impugned, by many who with gossip liked to wound.  “Born of a virgin” they really didn’t believe, other stories about her they liked to weave.  Alternately deified or vilified, in her day, there was a price to pay.

Mary and Jesus, stained glass window, St Stephen's church, Tonbridge, KentOn an angel’s word, Mary risked dishonour and disgrace.  Many did not believe and told her to her face!  Even Joseph, her fiancé, planned to send her away until an angel came and saved the day.  The census meant they  travelled far and wide, until in Bethlehem they reached a stable beside an Inn.  Her first baby born in animal squalor, it was enough to make her holler!  In her day, there was a price to pay.

Angels sent shepherds to that stable bare, before she could even wash her hair.  Yet both strong and soft was she, as she pondered more on what kind of ‘Son of God’ was he. A couple of years on, God wise men sent her, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Her delight, only a brief respite, before they all fled in the night while around Bethlehem, Herod in jealousy and fear of a rightful king, killed all boys under three.  In her day, there was a price to pay.

Asylum seekers now, to Egypt they made their way.  Told in a dream of Herod’s death, at last they came home to Nazareth.  A simple life with carpentry as the main activity.  At the age of 12 Jesus went to the temple as he did every year, the answers to his questions he wanted to hear.  Missing him and frantic with worry, his parents searched for him three days straight and then chided him for being so late.  Yet Jesus surprised by their worry, didn’t seem to understand their hurry.  Pondering again, Mary knew that in her day, there was a price to pay.

Fast forward to the age of thirty, partying with wedding guests both loud and flirty, Mary asked Jesus to make them wine, her request itself a sign.  What miracles had he done growing up that made her confident that wine they’d sup?  Later why did his mother and brothers think him mad, was being a healer quite so bad?  Misunderstood, in her day, there was a price to pay.

Jesus's life and death, photo of art at a church in Bridlington, UK

Move forward three more years, Mary was again in tears.  Her son Jesus, wrongly accused and sentenced to die, the people did crucify.  Mocked and spat on, beaten hard, a cross shouldered on blood-red scars.  Her son went willingly to his death and forgiveness gave with his last breath.  To John his beloved disciple, he gave his mother and asked them to love one another.   A mother weeping in agony at the cruel murder of her son on a shameful cross,  unable to bear her loss.  In her day, there was a price to pay.

Yet when on the third day Jesus rose from death’s repose, he vanquished sin and let light in.   Son of God at last made plain, making sense of both their pain.  For in his death and resurrection, victory he claimed and made us new creations.  Reclaiming the keys of death and hell and the power to make us well.  Healing every sickness and every pain, making us whole and healthy again.  Offering us salvation’s door, beckoning, ‘Come’. to both rich and poor.  For in his day and before the foundation of the world, our price was paid.

“Paid in full” is stamped in blood so we might be understood and welcomed home to heaven’s shores.  For Kings and Queens we were born to be if we would just accept salvation’s gift, all our burdens he would lift.  He would teach us how to be and give us the ability to see that love can mend every wounded part and make us truly whole of heart.   Heaven or hell, our choice as well.   He paid the price for you and me, so what is it to be? Will you like me, ask Christ to make you free?

A link to one of my favourite Easter songs:

© Michelle Sherlock 3/4/15

First photo taken at St Stephens Church, Tonbridge in August 2014 by Jeremy Sherlock and second photo taken inside a church at Bridlington, UK in October 2014.


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