Mary’s son

Yesterday, on Maundy Thursday, our choir sang a piece that has haunted me since.  It’s about Jesus, but through the lens of his mother, Mary.  The piece spans his life from birth to death, with Mary standing by to offer a mother’s comfort to her son at every juncture.

Each Lenten season we remember Jesus’ suffering, and since I’ve become a mother to a son, I’ve found God’s willingness to sacrifice  his own son that much more amazing.  As I watch my son grow and come to love him more with each day that passes, the idea of loving an entire people enough to give his precious body over to be broken for them … let’s just say my heart isn’t as big as God’s.  I couldn’t do it.  I look at the tender skin at the nape of his neck and I marvel at the scope of God’s love for us.  I couldn’t do it; not for anything.

But yesterday’s service reminded me that Jesus wasn’t just God’s son.  He was Mary’s son.  Mary bore him, raised him, and watched as he was abandoned by his disciples, tried before the Sanhedrin, and then stood at the foot of the cross and watched her beloved son’s hands and feet nailed to the wood.

Could you do it?  As a mother, could you stand there and watch soldiers nail your son (a grown man, but your son nonetheless) to a cross, then jeer as they tortured him with a crown of thorns and pierced his side with a spear?  Could you stand by and watch?

I couldn’t.

Let me share this music with you, because it speaks far more eloquently than I ever could.  Listen to the violin weep.  Hear the lullaby that echoes the ones you’d sing to your own babies.  Prepare yourself for the piano thundering its anger at the mention of Golgatha.  And through it all, imagine that you’re Mary, and that this is your memory, your son.

The piece is called Pietá, by Joseph M. Martin, and you can hear a beautiful rendition of it here.  Please go listen.

Are you crying yet?

Here, let me give you the lyrics:

 In the shadow of a manger,

by a candle’s dancing flame,

tender Mary holds her baby,

and she breathes His holy name.

“Jesus, rest your weary head,

close your weeping eyes.”

As evening falls, she starts to sing a lullaby.

“Lulay, lulay, peace be yours tonight.”

In the shadow of the temple,

in a place so far from home,

Mary sees her child of wonder,

and she marvels how He’s grown.

“Jesus rest your weary head,

and think on gentle things.”

With loving arms she holds her Saviour and she sings,

“Lulay, lulay, peace be yours tonight.”

In the shadow of Golgatha,

underneath a darkened sky,

Mary gently cradles Jesus,

Through her tears she says goodbye.

“Jesus, rest your weary head.

Your work on earth is done.”

And as the darkness falls, she whispers to her son,

“Lulay, lulay, peace be yours tonight.”


This music pulls tears from me.  Mother’s tears, as it’s finally hit me just what God (and Jesus, and Mary) sacrificed.  Turn the painting a bit and the fuzzy parts become clear.  I always knew Jesus was a man, but to think of him as a mother thinks of her own son … well, that triggers a whole different set of instincts, and perhaps a whole new level of understanding.

The Good Friday service tonight included a hymn (O Sacred Head, Now Wounded) that summed it up perfectly for me in the last verse:


“What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend,

for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?

O make me thine forever, and should I fainting be,

Lord let me never, never outlive my love to thee.”

No language can possibly be sufficient to thank any of the players in this passion for their sacrifice.  No words could ever be enough.  Tonight I cry, mother’s tears of sorrow mixed with sinner’s tears of joy, for we have all been offered the priceless gift of redemption.
Praise be to God.


    • Angie says

      Thank you, Melissa. Did you listen to the music? It’s incredible. I’ve had the song running through my head for days now.

  1. NotJustAnotherJennifer says

    So, so true! I had a revelation in this vein with Abraham and Isaac awhile ago. Once you become a mother, it changes the filter you read the Bible with. Drastically. I hadn’t heard this song before – amazing! thank you so much for sharing.

    • Angie says

      Oh, yes, I have trouble with Abraham and Isaac as a mother. The story is awful even before you become a parent, but after you do, it is nearly impossible to reconcile. I haven’t tried to tackle that one like this yet.

      You hit the nail on the head–motherhood changes your filter for just about everything, but most definitely the way you read the Bible. So glad you liked the music. It’s haunting, in a beautiful way.

    • Angie says

      So glad you liked it! Hearing it live in church … there were not enough tissues. And our choir and musicians are every bit as good as the ones on the recording. Music is a powerful medium for religion. So many times the hymns and things go over my head, but not this one.

    • Angie says

      No kidding. And I’m so glad, because I hadn’t felt this kind of emotion and understanding before. Not to say that you can’t, just that I hadn’t tapped into it.

  2. Guerrina says

    Will have to listen at home later, but the lyrics plucked my heartstrings.Truly a different perspective as a mother.

    Have you ever visited Check out their Easter and Grace video sketches. Laugh, I did, but through tears at times.

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