Good Friday is such a rough day on the liturgical calendar.
When I was thinking about what song I wanted to cover next with my friend Landon, Patty Griffin's Mary jumped out in my head for two reasons.
1. The lyrics to this song are truly gorgeous, and reflect this sense of the woman behind the man. Mary, mother of Jesus, brought him into the world, had to watch him leave it. I think my favorite line in this song is the chorus:
"Jesus said, 'Mother, I couldn't stay another day longer.'
Flies right by, leaves a kiss upon her face.
While the angels are singin' praises in a blaze of glory,
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place."
It reminds me of the hundreds of times I've seen my own mother stay behind to clean up after a celebration or a funeral or a holiday - and it's humanizing to think about the people who were left after Jesus was crucified. What were they feeling? What did they have left in those three days before the resurrection?
2. This won't happen until Easter, but there is a part of the Easter story where Mary Magdalene is walking in a garden after Jesus has been crucified. She begins a conversation with someone she thinks is the gardener trying to find out where they've laid Jesus' body, until about halfway through that conversation when the "gardener" speaks her name.
For me, this is always a particularly arresting moment on Easter Sunday. Though I go by Mary Catherine, my immediate family calls me, "Mary." Hearing not only my name, but the name I'm called by those who love me most, said out loud by a risen Jesus, is overwhelming for me and makes me cry every single time. The idea that Jesus speaks our names and in that moment, we come to recognize all the things in our lives in which he's been present all along? The idea that Jesus SPEAKS OUR NAMES at all? It's too much goodness. My eyes have to leak so my heart has room to hold it all.