John 3 : 16
Darkness had fallen, and with it a silence over the city broken only by the barking of dogs and the occasional scuff of hurrying sandals. In the house the children went reluctantly to bed - it was time for adult conversation – but as Mary moved between the men to clear the plates, someone knocked at the door. A cautious knock, she thought. Low voices in the outer room made them all uneasy, and they exchanged glances till Peter emerged followed by, of all people, the Pharisee Nicodemus.
He had come to speak with the Master of course, but from their conversation, Mary had no idea why, or whether he found what he was looking for. He posed questions, and Jesus answered, but it was as though the Master was pre-occupied with particular ideas; thinking aloud rather than debating with his visitor. She saw the room fall quiet, other conversations stall, each head turn gradually to Jesus.
He paused, and looked round the room, studying the faces, “For God so loved the world,” he said, “that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. God did not send his son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.”
As he spoke, Mary’s heartbeat throbbed in her ears; she caught her breath. ‘What does he mean ?’ she thought, ‘Is he ready to tell all Jerusalem who he is ? Shall I see the Messiah crowned king ?’
Her mind spun on as she poured the wine for them, catching his words in snatches. She felt elated, excited, at the centre of things. What had he said . . . everyone who believes in him will not perish . . . not condemn the world but save it ?
‘At last,’ she thought, ‘This amazing man who has changed my life, will change everyone’s lives. What will he do next ?’
Afterwards Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down. When Pilate gave him permission, he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night also came.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.
Secrets and lies, Lord, they shrouded your death
and were the very things you died to defeat.
Lord, today I think about you
engaged in the business of being a saviour,
while the women wept and the men mourned
behind closed doors.
Their world seemed drained of colour,
plunged into shades of grey.
Lord, I pray for the places in our world today
where tears have washed the colour
out of lives –
where secrets and lies and worse, have broken hearts.
May those whose days are grey with suffering
know that you share it,
and offer Love which understands; takes on the hurt.
May I Lord, like your Marys be vigilant, to see what’s
going on around the world,
so that faithfulness and Love
continue the fight against secrets and lies.
written by Fiona Campbell