She had lost a son.
One would expect that her mourning would be endless. Yet here she was at the upper room, eagerly awaiting the promised Holy Spirit.
She had never forgotten her encounter with the Angel over thirty years ago. But she was human. A mother. It made sense that she would get worried when her twelve year old son was missing on a trip from Jerusalem.
‘I saw him talking to John just before we left, perhaps he is at your cousin Elisabeth’s party.’
Joseph had said.
But he wasn’t there.
Even his brothers James and Jude, who were travelling with their uncle, had not seen him.
She and Joseph had to go back to find him.
‘Joe, why would he do this to us?’
He arched his brow. He did not need words, the look was all she needed.
How did one correct a child who was God in the flesh?
She would figure it out when they saw him.
They didn’t need to wait too long. They found him among the elders in the temple, asking questions and answering even more.
‘We were worried about you’ she said in an almost upset tone.
He looked at her and smiled. The kind that reminded her of who he really was.
‘You should have known I’d be in my father’s house’
Joseph gave her that ‘I told you so’ look.
It turned out to be an uneventful next few years, but Mary never forgot that he was God first and foremost. His siblings on the other hand…
‘Mother, Peter says its time to pray.’
James said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
‘Oh I was lost in thought, I did not hear’
She noticed the sadness in his eyes.
‘Are you alright my son?’ She asked.
James buried his face in his hands.
‘I just wished I had believed him sooner,’ he said nearly choking on his tears.
‘He was my brother, yet I did not know he was the messiah. All those times we made fun of him, asking to keep on advertising himself since he was so special.’
He had always been the stubborn one. He did not like the fact that his brother seemed to think he was above them.
There were several clashes when they were growing up. Jesus, in all his wisdom and patience on one side and James, on the other, rebellious against his always perfect, sometimes strange brother who his parents worshipped. He did not believe and his other brothers and sisters followed suit. What sort of messiah was born of a carpenter and had such an ordinary family?
It grew worse as they grew older. One time, Jesus had not been home for days and Mary wanted to see him. His brothers insisted on coming along to keep her safe.
‘He is preaching at the moment’ the host of the house had said.
James had been the first to speak up.
‘Too busy for his mother and brothers’ he said raising his voice.
Mary had tried to hush him, but James blew her off.
‘Perhaps we should wait until he is done.’
‘Who does he think he is?’
‘Tell him we are here,’ he told the reluctant host.
The host went to Jesus.
They could see him talking to Jesus from where they stood, but couldn’t hear his words.
Jesus stood up.
‘I would have been very angry if he did not come’ James told Jude.
But Jesus wasn’t coming to them. He walked to the middle of the crowd he had been teaching.
‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the words of God and do them!’ He said emphatically.
True to his words, James was red with fury. But now his face was red from crying.
‘He was right when he said a prophet is not respected in his own home. Why did I have to wait until he resurrected to believe?’
‘Son, the important thing is that right now, you believe’
She took his hand as they walked into the prayer room.
Peter rose to speak.
‘Brothers, Jesus our Lord told us to wait here for the Holy spirit. He said that we would receive power when the Holy spirit comes, and that this spirit will strengthen us to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and the rest of the world! Now let us pray.’
They all held hands in prayer like they had many times before. But this time there was a mighty rushing wind that filled the entire house. Tongues of fire rested on every head as the Holy spirit filled everyone in the room.
It did not matter who was a tax collector or prostitute; whether they believed before or after the resurrection; whether they were educated or fishermen; whether they grew up in the same home with Jesus or were birthed by him. Only one thing mattered. They believed he was the son of God and were now sealed with the Holy spirit of promise.
Mary worshipped from her heart.
She was a virgin who housed the Lord and Savior for nine months . Then a mother who knew sorrow and pain. But now as she felt the mighty rushing wind and spoke in new tongues like her brothers and sisters in the faith, something new happened. Something that by far surpassed her prior privilege and her great pain. The spirit of God that overshadowed her at conception would now live in her forever. True, she had just lost a son. But God had gained a daughter.
Mary seems to be one of the most misunderstood bible characters today. Some worship her. Some deem her as unimportant because they want to counter the image of Mary as one that should be worshipped. When in doubt, look at the word. True, Mary the mother of Jesus never once asked any one to pray through her. She was chosen simply because God favoured her for the assignment of bringing Jesus into the world. Even she did not commend herself for that but worshipped God. But there is something more that I think Mary should be commended for; Her choice to follow Jesus. Not just to the cross or the tomb. Her presence in the upper room was a choice that still speaks volumes. One that we must not sweep under the carpet. It is the last mention of Mary in the bible; a mention I believe is much stronger than the first. It is a picture of her that Christ would have us emulate. A picture of a woman who believed in Jesus as the son of God and gained access to the resurrected Christ by his Holy Spirit.