Daughters of Jerusalem – Luke 23:28-31
Women of faith, do not grieve over me, I belong to the Father and to you. Grieve for yourselves, grieve over your homes and your families.
Soon you will wish you didn’t have those burdens, you will envy those who do not have them. You will say, “It will be better to never have nursed than to raise a child to be like them.”
You will ask the world to hide you. You will cry out to disappear.
For how can we belong to God when we do this?
So that part isn’t in there and 100% of scholars that I consulted on the issue agree that it isn’t in there.
What is in there is this moment smack in the middle of the procession to his own crucifixion where Jesus speaks to this gathering of women.
They weep because they know full well what they are about to lose. They know who Jesus us. They know the Father. At this point, the men have no clue.
His followers, at least most of them, have scattered or are in hiding. They fear for their own lives, they question their being and their faith. What they found is about to be forever lost. Nobody comes back from crucifixion. They don’t exactly screw that up very often.
His enemies stand and point and mock, assured within their own moment of victory. After all, they have the law and the tradition behind them. Of course they are right. Because nobody has ever come back from crucifixion to prove otherwise.
The women weep. They grieve. They wail and cry out against the injustice of it all. They are the only ones who “get it”. They are the only ones who understand what is truly happening. They are the strength of Israel and also apparently the heart and the mind as well. They know Jesus and they know full well what will soon be lost. After all, nobody comes back from crucifixion.
They bear the children and raise them and teach them the Torah. They prepare the food that strengthens them. They watch their sons grow up and introduce them to their future wives. They dance and laugh and sing and rejoice. And they weep.
The women are the heart of the community. They are the heart of the church. They weep for Jesus not because they are emotionally unstable. They weep because, unlike the men, they know the future. They can sense a world without Jesus and they weep for him.
Do not weep for me, he says. Weep for those who knew me and who will lose me. Weep for those who have not known me. Weep for those that need me. Weep for those that need me but will never know me.
It will get harder, he says. It will seem impossible. You may wish you bore no children into this world. You may curse yourself for raising a child in a world that will warp and try to destroy them. You may wish that you were barren.
You, who know the heart of the Father, will wonder how this could be. You will wonder why this has come to pass. You will wish it all away.
But that is not the Father’s will, oh Daughters of Jerusalem. To be Israel is to struggle. To be Israel is hard. To be my children, my chosen, is hard.
You will weep for me. You will weep for my return. You will weep for change.
Do not weep for me, Jesus said.
Instead, continue to know the heart of the Father. Continue to be the heart of the community. Continue to be the heart of the church.
Anything that doesn’t have a heart is dead. Anything that has only a weak heart is dying.
Daughters of Jerusalem, show us the heart of the Father. Show us the Son.