How long had it been? The handmaiden rose from where she had been trying to rest and walked to the small, elongated window. The full moon of the Passover was already starting to wane, but was still bright enough to light the buildings around her. The tiny gardens, stairs, sleeping animals were illuminated with its blueish rays.
She closed to her eyes, but the images inside her brain were still too horrific. Brushing her hair back from her face, she quickly finger combed it and wove it into a long rope that ran the length of her back. Her hands trembled from the effort. How long had it been since she had eaten? She could barely remember for sure, but she knew it had been a long time. The last real meal she could remember actually eating had been a week ago with her son. Their fast had begun after that. They knew what this week would bring.
Her eldest Son. The moan escaped her throat before she knew it was coming, and she braced her hand upon the nearby wall for support. The tears ever present the past few days returned until her heart felt like it was ready to explode in her chest. How could this be? A week ago, they had laughed and talked with the others as if it was just another week in a string long weeks covering miles and miles of roads. But when they beheld each other over the heads of those scattered around them, they knew differently.
Certainly, the constant stream of friends, acquaintances, strangers filtering in through whatever field, doorway or rooftop in which they rested had been no different at all. No matter how many miles they had traveled or what strange accommodations, in which they found themselves, the people always sought her Son………and He never turned them away. Ever.
Somehow, she and the other women had managed to keep the meals organized and, blessings be, found time to do their own preaching, ministering and reaching out to the women who had follow the men or timidly managed to come on their own. Finding enough food was a miracle that only Our Father knew how it was provided; let alone, finding the right words and solace to offer. It had not been easy, but then, nothing that Our Father had requested of her on this path had been easy…….except for Him.
It was not the life she had envisioned as she dreamed about becoming a wife and mother, and yet – there was nothing about it that she would have changed. Her breath caught in her throat as the tears threatened to strangle her…nothing. Everything that had happened since the Passover was as it was supposed to be. She knew. She understood this from the beginning…….. for she was His handmaiden.
Stepping through the curtain, she saw the others asleep on the floor. Mary, Martha and the other Mary slept closest to her own small curtained off area. As His mother, they had treated her with such respect, compassion and love…..urging her to rest. But there are all sorts of dying, and while rest never came, a peace beyond all human understanding cradled her through it all.
The homeowner and his wife had vacated their own room, so that she would have privacy in her sorrow. The other Mary moaned softly and shifted slightly upon the floor. Reaching down, the Handmaiden pulled the slight covering up over the thin shoulders and touched her in comfort that she might sleep a little more. The night had an aching chill to it, but it was almost over and all too soon, the women would be rising to go to the tomb with the herbs and spices.
Lifting her shawl up to cover her hair, she stepped over John and Andrew who slept by the doorway. The others of their small intimate group scattered to different places earlier in the day, fearing that they would soon be hunted down by the priests or the Romans as well. They feared that a larger group would attract more attention. She had tried to re-assure them, but they would not listen to her. They had lost their shepherd, and they were afraid. It was the darkest part of the morning of the third day.
Moving quickly, she walked through the darkness towards the spot where they had laid the body of her Son. The voice in her head urged her steps to quicken. She was not sure what awaited her, but she knew that it was there that the Holy Spirit was leading her. She smiled as she glanced up at the moon. The prompting of the Holy Spirit had been with her since the angel’s first visit, so she was no stranger to His voice. Grateful for such good memories, treasures which she kept and pondered them within her heart, she saw the garden ahead.
Fear wiggled around in her belly. The Romans would be there; shen knew that yet her feet continued to move forward. Suddenly, a small earth tremble shook the earth. Knocking her sideways and off the path, her head hit an outcropping of rock as her knees and forearms scraped the ground. How long the trembles continued to rock beneath her, she couldn’t tell but she heard feet running down the path she had just been walking. Silence enveloped the area.
Wiping a trickle of blood out of her eyes, the Handmaiden stood and stumbled toward the tomb. Illuminated with a brightness beyond compared, the tomb shimmered in the light. Three angels were rolling the rock away from the opening…Sariel, Gabriel and Gerel. She knew them well. Afterall, they had been in an out of her entire life. It was then she realized that Chrisel had been walking beside her. Her heart beating in tune with the music that she heard all around her, lifted her feet, and like a child, she all but ran the remaining distance.
“Peace to you, full of grace, Our Lord is with you; you are blessed among women,” Gabriel stood aside the tomb as he repeated the words that she had never forgotten. Could it truly be that it truely had been 47 years ago? She trembled and fell to her knees just as she had done the first time.
“Do not fear, Maryam, the Son that you called Yeshua awaits you inside. Enter and see the Salvation of the entire world. As you gave birth to Him the first time on this tiny sphere called Terra, you are to be present as He takes on His new eternal body that embodies the one to be known as Christus Yeshua. It will be He who will rule forever and ever, bringing Salvation to all men of Good Will.”
Maryam bowed her head and breathed in the holiness of all that was around her. God’s presence, the Holy Spirit cradled her and touched the ugliness of the past week with their glory. Images too horrible to contemplate earlier, rose to the forefront of her mind. She could see all the sin and pain of the world swirling around her first born Son, corrupting the physical body and stretching it beyond human endurance………..and then……….touched by the Father’s merciful hand…………the sin evaporated into a blinding light of golden shimmers.
“Behold,” she repeated the words that she had treasured for years, “I am the handmaid of THE LORD JEHOVAH; let it be done to me according to your word.”
Standing, she walked into the tomb itself. Her limbs no longer trembling. The bloody cuts and scratches completely gone. She saw her Yeshua standing before her. Still wrapped in his burial shroud, she walked forward and began to sing her mother’s song of praise that she had sung so long ago in Bethlehem. Unwrapping and folding each cloth, her hands capable and sure, she sang her unending prayer until He stood before her clothed in His new eternal body.
“Mother, behold, all things are made new.”
She smiled. His voice different and yet the same…………the same and yet………….not the same……….instead, it was so much more in its power and strength. Her hands reached up to trace the planes of his face, much as she had done in that tiny stable. It was almost as if she could feel her beloved, Joseph, standing beside her, his hands covering hers just as they had in the stable. Tears of joy coursed a path down her cheeks, and her Son, being her wonderful son, reached out to wipe them gently away. As He smiled and enfolded her into his arms, the parent who had carried the salvation of the world in her womb become a child of His Grace, and the child, who had grown in a world filled with sin became a parent of a new world…an eternal kingdom that would draw all men of good will to Him through love, grace and mercy.
Funny places to start a life, and yet, the perfect places to find the LORD JEHOVAH and CHRISTUS YESHUA.. He was no longer her son. He was more……much, much more.
As they walked into the main garden, the shawl that had covered her head, fell to her shoulders. Her salt and pepper hair had turned completely silver and reflected th moonlight as they began to talk. The angels followed them while choruses of cherubim sang rose petals about their feet.
Romans still hid. They were afraid, but of what? They did not know.
Disciples trembled in their sleep and feared waking. Their shepherd was gone.
Women stirred and began to prepare for what must be done at the tomb.
Mary walked beside the Son she had brought into this world. A new treasured image to carry in her heart. A new wonder to light her world when He departed once again. It was not her time to join Him yet. She still had work to do here. She knew the Holy Spirit would stay with her for her Son had said it was so in His teachings. Since that first morning when LORD JEHOVAH had walked in the Garden with his new creations, there had never been such a glorious morning in the history of the world. Mary smiled.
There was nothing she would change of this journey. It was Our Father’s journey and her heart swelled with thankfulness and praise once more. “My soul exalts THE LORD JEHOVAH. And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the lowliness of his Maidservant, for behold, from this hour all generations will ascribe blessedness to me. Because He who is mighty has done unto me great things and holy is His name. And His mercy for posterity and generations is upon those who revere him. .He has wrought victory with His arm and He has scattered the proud with the opinion of their heart. He has cast down the mighty from thrones and has raised up the lowly .He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty handed .He has helped Israel, His servant, and He has remembered his mercy, just as He spoke with our Patriarchs, with Abraham and with His seed eternally.”Lk 1:47-55
*Biblical conversation words are bolded, in italics and quoted from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. Fictional words are just in italics. Blessings!Be! on Easter 2015