The third last word

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciples, “Here is your mother.”

There is no changing one body for another. It is not the case,

Jesus, that because you die, another will take your place.

He will not grow into your clothes, your skin, your lungs

tested lustily in that barn when, at your birth, she wept for joy to hear your cry.

As though to prove your sheer, fallible humanity you try

to make it all better, when it would be better, Jesus,to leave them to their grief.

They will find out one another if need be;  there they will agree

it is but empty labour you offer with your wasting breath.

If you had raised up children from the very rocks for Abraham,

after Isaac and that funeral pyre,

Sarah would cover her face, and her breast.

send them away hungry; the Lord will provide,

but there’s no taking back your sacrifice. Like your hands, your feet, your side,

their hearts would never mend, not quite, after you died.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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