For many years, before I had children, I helped provide music for an outdoor passion play. My part was a solo piece from the vantage point of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
As I sang, on the other side of a lake, the character that played Mary knelt at the foot of the cross.
|A more recent performance of "His Last Days."|
The lyrics were mostly questions as Mary looked up at her son hanging on the cruel cross-timbers and pondered the reality before her. How could this have happened?
Often, emotion threatened to derail the song for me, and though I fought to control my feelings as I watched the scene unfold in the distance, I was always able to make it through the piece. Today, with children of my own, I have an even deeper understanding of what Mary might have gone through and what questions she must have had. I’m not sure that now, I’d be able to sing the song at all.
Having the experience of something helps us have greater empathy.
I’m so glad we have a Savior who has our experience. He walked around in skin that was subject to sunburn, wore sandals that rubbed blisters, knew how much it hurt to lose someone he loved, felt betrayal, and faced the power of sin’s lure as Satan himself attempted to corrupt him.
Eugene Peterson beautifully translates Paul’s words in Hebrews 4:14-16:
"Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”
So if you wonder if anyone knows, Jesus is in “touch with our reality” no matter the circumstances. He’s faced our temptations, suffered our indignities, and known our grief. Whatever you’re facing, He knows. Been there. Done that.
On this Thursday of Holy Week, let’s “take the mercy, accept the help” he offers us.
Because of this, maybe I would be able to sing Mary's song after all.