Archive for December 12th, 2010

December 12, 2010

I think of Mary…., and Jesus, and…..

by Rod Smith

I imagine, Mary, that it was more than a difficult birth. All those miles journeyed so late in a pregnancy did not make things easier. Of course there’s nowhere for you to stay, the man you are with is not your husband. You say the child is not his. What else are people to do but hold the door firmly closed, and send you on your way?

Here he is, Mary, the baby God promised. In your joy and pain there is no relief as guests who have traveled long distances stand in line to pay homage to the baby as if to a king. I should imagine Mary, that there is a little resentment toward you from some quarters, all this attention for a woman of questionable morals.

I am sure that it was a difficult childhood, Jesus. Being young and studious can be a tiring combination. Feeling called, appointed, anointed, intimate with God and so at home in the temple could infuriate men in search of the God you claim to know. The tongues surely wagged declaring you illegitimate. “Who’s your father,” I bet they taunted, “We know our father is Abraham, but who is your father.” It must have gotten a little old Jesus, even when you were so very young.

I know it was a difficult career. You faced extremes at every turn. Ostracism here; worship there. I cannot imagine the pressure you endured from religious quarters. Turning water to wine, healing the blind, raising the dead, multiplying food, walking on water, and calming storms I would have thought would increase your popularity but largely it had the opposite effect. How much good can you do before those who pride themselves on knowing God become a little edgy? Demonstrating the power of God through working miracles can get a person in trouble rather quickly. Perhaps you should have known better.

I know friendships were troublesome for you. I’m sure it was a difficult day when you looked into the eyes of a friend, a very close friend, and found yourself looking into the eyes of your betrayer. There he was pointing you out in the garden and then, to rub salt into the wound, doing it with a kiss. Those who had come to seize and accuse you, place you on trial were taken aback at your composure, your presence, your attitude, despite all you knew about what was in store for you. Where did you get the faith, Jesus?

I cannot imagine what it was like to be so widely wanted dead. Religious leaders wanted you out of the way. Political leaders accused you of disturbing the peace. Then, fancy this, they join forces in some weird alliance to get you. Then, the Enemy also wanted you dead. You showed him no tolerance, wouldn’t take his bribe; you wouldn’t join forces or share power. You just wouldn’t demonstrate any flexibility Jesus, not on any front, even for a moment.

Finally, and surely most painfully, God wanted you dead as atonement for sin. It’s no wonder, Jesus, that you perspired blood and pleaded for the removal of the cup that was before you.

After all you went through I cannot imagine what it was like to be brought back to life. Appearing to your beloved friends, your mother, your brothers and sisters and hundreds of people must have brought you all joy enough to party in the streets. The added bonus was that now, death itself, was dead.

I cannot imagine Mary, what it was like to be his mother. As surely as you knew water would become wine you knew the crib would become a cross. You also knew that despite all the pain and drama, the sealed tomb would open and the risen Christ would declare to the world once more, that God is intimately invested in the affairs of humanity and the details of every life.

December 12, 2010

Give Something Away Every Day (GSAED) begins avalanche of donations….

by Rod Smith

“The ball started rolling purely because of GSAED. It is a heart-warming story, with a happy ending. Motala Heights Children’s Home is a refuge run by a residents association in an informal settlement near Pinetown. They care for 120 children between 1 and 15 years old. Their ‘Christmas Tree’ – an event eagerly looked forward to as you can imagine – was scheduled for next Tuesday – but yesterday the sponsor pulled out without warning.

“Warwick Chapman – a hugely energetic person cared enough to get involved. Through Facebook, he managed to get a R5,000 donation from one of the GSAED followers to kick the fund off. That started an avalanche of donations – from someone baking 120 cupcakes on Monday, through scores of wrapped Christmas gifts to cash donations.

“Now, one day later, it looks like the party and meal promised will be even better than was originally planned. Rod, it all comes down to the GSAED campaign. People were in the giving frame of mind – and they latched on to the opportunity as it presented itself. Thank you for opening so many people’s hearts and minds to the opportunity to give.”

A reader….

Des Ramsay