on the Mother of God
As a little girl, riding over the bridge into town toward our evangelical church, the stoplight always caught us right next to a fancy gray building. I stretched my vision every time for the statues in all the stained glass windows, positioned dramatically. I thought people went there to bow down to them like Israel to golden calf.
What was it with Mary? Poor Catholics. Hail Mary.
And then I grew up a little into a young- skinned degenerate. I had given up working anymore to be saved, already swelling with unwanted child and having coffee in a discounted Catholic’s kitchen. She was my roommate’s mom, one who glowed though she had been deeply abused.
As a child, she endured men, while her mind escaped into a full-color realization of a good man who was also God. He would walk with her and hold her hand, as if He were temporarily escorting her outside of her body. When she learned His name, it was nothing for her to believe. She had known Jesus Christ intimately already for as long as she remembered. He had rescued her over and over again.
She tried to explain it – she, Catholic, begging me to believe, and I, protestant, heels digging deeply into disbelief. After the doctor in the clinic with all the pregnant girls lined up, after I emptied myself of hope for what she had with God, I told her I had a miscarriage, and I haven’t seen her since. I don’t even remember her name.
But I think about her a lot, especially in regard to my own dramatic salvation – how I wish I could call her sometimes and ask her to pray, she who cared so deeply for my soul, she who spoke from grace. And strangely, when I think of her, I think of Mary, how she lives though dead, how she carried that baby while young, how she took on abuse, how we all relate.
I think of how Mary’s story becomes our story, God coming into us, planting Himself there, immovable, how we get to be freshly born, and I want to talk to her about it. I want to know her, the great praise poet who endlessly relates, how the hour of her own death must have lasted so long.
There is a new book that interests me to the core, Scot McKnight’s The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus, and L.L. Barkat from Seedlings in Stone writes about it today and offers a free copy to a commenter within the next six days.
Is it so wrong to wonder about the Lady, full of grace, about how Heaven dripped down into her, how its ripple roles over us and in us still?