4.10.2020 – all those who knew him,

all those who knew him,
followed him, watched these things
stood a distance

Adapted from the verse; “But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.” Luke 23:49 (NIV)

I have long held that the book of Luke is the result of what is now called ‘Oral History.’

In other words, not only did Luke go an interview as many eyewitnesses as he could, but he crafted those interviews into the narrative that is the Book of Luke in the New Testament.

Luke himself wrote, “… I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you … “

I am convinced that included in those who Luke interviewed was Mary.

I am convinced that all the stories told from Mary’s point view are based on 1st person interviews with Mary.

I imagine that Luke did his investigation some 50 or 60 years after the death of Christ.

I imagine that at that time, Mary was living in the city of Ephesus, in the home of the Apostle John.

And I feel in my heart that when it came to Good Friday, 50 or 60 years, it was still too much for Mary to describe.

I doubt I will ever see Michelangelo’s Pieta.

But I remember driving back from the beach at Grand Haven, Michigan.

That well traveled route takes you through Spring Lake, Michigan and past St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

On this time it was getting dark and for the first time I noticed a flood lit statue on the corner of the church property.

I remember thinking, “WHAT???” and making an illegal u turn to double back and pull into the church.

Being me, I was scoffing to beat the band.

“OH RIGHT, SURE”, I said as I got out of the car and walked up to the statue.

There in front of my, in bright white fiberglass, flood lit glory was a full size copy of the Pieta.

I wanted to shake my head.

I wanted to say, ‘”Are you kidding me?”

But, even in fiberglass.

Even all the same shade of white.

Even with the blaze of floodlights.

The power.

The magic.

The feeling.

To an extent, still came through.

I couldn’t do anything but look.

Its power was overwhelming and drew me like a magnet.

I walked up close.

I could see the same passion of love, a love beyond explaining and like no other.

In her face was also a suffering.

Here, as predicted by the Angel, was a picture of a soul pierced by a sword.

And it was just a copy.

Fiber glass copy of the Pieta by Michelangelo in Spring Lake, Michigan

I cannot fathom what it would be like to see the real thing.

The idea that back in the day (1600-1700) you could walk up to and around the sculpture is more than my poor brain can imagine.

Here is perfect sweetness in the expression of the head, harmony in the joints and attachments of the arms, legs, and trunk, and the pulses and veins so wrought, that in truth Wonder herself must marvel that the hand of a craftsman should have been able to execute so divinely and so perfectly, in so short a time, a work so admirable; and it is certainly a miracle that a stone without any shape at the beginning should ever have been reduced to such perfection as Nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh.“, so wrote Giorgio Vasari in his 1558 book “The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects

When asked by Luke, Mary could not put her feelings of Good Friday into words.

Somehow, 1500 years later, Michelangelo found expression for those feelings in stone.

I am not going to ever see it in stone.

I guess I will just enjoy and be happy with the fact that I did see a glimpse of those expressions in fiberglass.

POST SCRIPT: As I wrote this and looked at online photos of the Pieta, the radio was playing Handel’s Eternal Source of Light Divine – It was an unexpected Good Friday moment that caused to stop breathing so I wouldn’t interrupt the music.

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