Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 10th March
Missing Loved Ones
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ Luke 2. 33-35
No matter what our own personal circumstances during this past year one thing we all have in common is that there are important people in our lives that we have not been able to see for months on end. The usual times when we get visits from family such as school holidays came and went, and the pain increased. Surely by the summer, surely by Christmas, surely by Easter but the continuing high numbers of cases put paid to our plans. Some of you may have been lucky enough to have children, grandchildren or great grandchildren nearby. You may have had to continue providing childcare for key workers or to help family members working at home. Unfortunately, that is not the case for all of us.
Missing our loved ones is about so much more than not seeing them, it is also about what happens when we are not with them. In the short-term hair grows longer, beards are acquired but as our period of separation goes on children get taller, adults age and memories get made without us. It may be that we only begin to realise just how much we have missed someone when we finally get to see them in person again.
Missing our loved ones is a consequence of our deep love for them. Simeon recognised this when he spoke to Mary – ‘a sword will pierce your own soul too’. Ultimately Mary had to watch as her beloved son died in a truly horrible fashion but even before this her soul was pierced by loss. From the time of his birth and the visit of the shepherds and wisemen, it would have been clear that Mary would have to share her son with the world.
This separation became even more acute when Jesus began his ministry. The gospel writers tell us about the occasion when Mary comes to visit Jesus and he appears to reject her in favour of the mass crowds of his followers. I imagine Mary’s pain when faced with the impenetrable crowds bore some resemblance to the way we are feeling. Being unable to see those we love not because we do not have the time, the inclination or the money but because of the danger of spreading a small disease-causing virus. It is a pain that gets into our very core. Simeon’s description of a piercing sword seems to precisely describe the feeling of separation from loved ones. This pain however does not last forever. All things are restored and healed through the power and love of Jesus and then we can look forward to the future with a renewed sense of just how precious those people are to us.