Jesus and the Women
A Mother’s Day Poem
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
His mother and his aunt made sure he knew more
than just the laws and canons of the men,
the patriarchy passed from father down
to son. They passed on their own mysteries,
from mother, from aunt, to these sons
they were raising. They suspected something big
was coming when Jesus and his cousin
came into their own, and they wanted them prepared.
And at his own wedding, when she upbraided him
for skimping on the wine, the gospels don’t record
his mother’s upraised eyebrow, quirked grin, tilted chin,
the way she swirled those robes of sky like hurricane
about her ankles as she turned and pointed to the empty
amphoras, then poked the steward in the chest, “Just do
whatever he tells you.” How the son hung his head
and shook it side to side, laughing. “Fill ‘em up
with water,” he told them, hands out in front of him,
like surrender. “No one can fight my Mama on this one.”
Martha had her say, too: “Bro! You’re bringing all these people
into the house! There are chairs and tables to set up,
children to tend to, food to be cooked and served.
Can’t you tell Maggie to help me with the work?”
“Whoa! First of all, let’s get this straight. No one tells Maggie
what to do. Maggie does what Maggie wants,
and furthermore, Mama said we’ve got to get the men
into the kitchen, too. Zaccheaus, will you grab that roast?
John, rearrange those chairs, will you? Uncle Nick,
can you catch that baby there before she toddles
out the door? Come sit here with us, Mar, and tell them
that idea you had about community gardens in Bethany.”
And when the party ended in the wee hours of night
and they were cleaning up, Martha handed him a dishcloth:
“Everybody wants a revolution,” she said and slapped him on the back.
“But no one wants to do the dishes.” He chuckled as he did them.
Then there was beloved Maggie—Don’t quibble with me
about Miriam and the Magdal-Eder and the names
of seaside towns. This is my poem, and I say
he called her Maggie like the rest of them, except
in the dark, when those healing hands were wrapped
around her. Then, “Mary,” he said, and “Mary,” again,
which is why the name went through her like knives,
like the sunlight which pierced her eyes on that morning
in the garden. But that came later.
“Why does the rabbi let his wife walk about,” they grumbled
in the synagogue, “with her head uncovered?”
I can see him rolling his eyes. Can’t see you how he
rolls his eyes? How he responds: “We’ve been over this
and over this. No one tells Maggie to do or not do anything.
Maggie speaks. Maggie writes. Maggie lets her raven hair
swirl about her shoulders in the sun. You might
as well tell thunder when to speak or to keep silence.
Maggie’s got a perfect mind, and Maggie will do
whatever Maggie pleases to do, and that pleases me.
Listen to this poem she wrote yesterday:
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the barren one
and many are my sons.
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
and it is my husband who begot me.”
And when the time had come, they gathered—
mother, aunts, sisters, wife—and they waited
and they watched. They knew what they had to do,
as women do who have received the mysteries of women
from generation to generation, and passed them on,
as women who have borne pain and healed pain
from the beginning of time. They stayed at the cross,
they went to the garden, they carried life forward
in the way that women do, in vials of oil and jars of herbs,
in loaf and grail, in words of thunder, and in mysteries
that you can see if you but look behind the veil.
1. My wise and compassionate mother
2. All my beloveds who mother me in so many ways
3. The experience of mothering. The joys and delights outweigh the wrenching sense of inadequacy, the shameful awareness of all I have done wrong in this gig.
4. All those birds out there. Some people say they think that global shelter-in-place has contributed to more songbirds. Anecdotally, I would say that could well be true.
May we walk in Beauty!
“I stand before what is with an open heart. And with an open heart, I dwell in possibility.” —Macrina Weiderkehr
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
― Ida B. Wells-Barnett
“Somewhere in the world there is a treasure that has no value to anyone but you, and a secret that is meaningless to everyone except you, and a frontier that possesses a revelation only you know how to exploit. Go in search of those things.
Somewhere in the world there is a person who could ask you the precise question you need to hear in order to catalyze the next phase of your evolution. Do what’s necessary to run into that person.” —Rob Breszny
*“Pain travels through families until someone is ready to feel it.” —Stephi Wagner
“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” ―George Orwell
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, that person sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” —Robert F Kennedy
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil it multiplies it.” —Martin Luther King Jr
“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” —Frederick Douglass
“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” ―Jane Goodall