Dawn and I had the opportunity to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral when we were in Rome. We actually walked up to the top of the dome, which gave us a good work out and breathtaking views.
One of my favorite pieces of art that I saw in the Cathedral is La Pieta, which I believe Michaelangelo sculpted. It depicts Mary with Christ laying across her after he had been crucified. In the sculpture, you see Mary’s sorrow. Dawn and I have thought in a different and more profound way about loss, since our daughter, Hannah passed away last year. We are coming up on the one year anniversary, which has brought many hard memories back. Hannah went to be with the Lord around midnight – the ending of one day, October 17 and the beginning of a new day October 18.
Identifying with Mary’s Sorrow
We are able to identify with Mary’s sorrow in a much deeper way. I think most of us tend to focus on the resurrection, which is supremely important to our faith. As Paul says, without the resurrection we would be fools. My point isn’t to minimize the significance of the resurrection rather highlight that Christ suffered as he bore our sins. It cost Him dearly. Also, those that were close to him at the time did not realize at first that Christ would be raised, even though He told them that he would.
Back to the sculpture, many have said that it not only captures the sorrow, the sadness of Mary, but also the hope. I think this is key. There is hope in the gospel, so much hope.
I don’t know what I would do in my sorrow if it were not for the hope that we have in Christ. Paul told us not to grieve as those who do not have hope. We do have much to help us lift up our eyes from where our help comes from.
Grief and Grieving
As I go through this period of grieving with my wife I notice that she is more expressive about her sadness. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Hannah, and I don’t miss her. Often, I wonder and even ask out loud, “why”? “What could have we done differently? Is there something we could have done to change the outcome?” I don’t really know the answer to those questions, but I do know that the Lord comforts me in my sorrow, just as I’m sure he comforted Mary as she wept when Christ was crucified.
The Bible even encourages by saying that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV) Then the author of Hebrews continues in Hebrews 5:7,8, “In the days of his flesh, ‘Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”
It seems strange that there would be comfort in the cross. Comfort in the symbol that signified the most painful and most disgraceful way to die during that time period. There is pain in the cross and yet there is comfort because of the resurrection. Christ suffered on our behalf. He paid the debt for our sins. He rose on the third day as was prophesied. Because of His death and resurrection, we have hope, and those who place their faith in Christ have life everlasting. That’s why the Bible says, “O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57, ESV).
Thanks be to God my friends. Thanks be to God who takes who comforts us in our sorrow and sadness and takes away the sting of death and gives us live!
In His Grip, Dave