I have posted this song, “Marietta’s Lied,” before, (appropriately, in a post about pain), but for some reason I am drawn to it today, Good Friday, when we remember the violent execution of our brother Jesus by the Roman Empire. He was accused of “agitating the nation” (Luke 23:2), of fomenting a revolution of fierce love and utter faithfulness to God’s way rather than the way of Empire. And he was killed for it. And for today, that is the end of the story.
In John’s telling of it (John 12), a few days before he is arrested he has a meal with his community. His friend Mary of Bethany anoints his feet, and there is something about that act which makes me think of this song. Here’s the text:
Come to me, my true love.
Night sinks into the grove
You are my light and day.
Anxiously beats heart on heart
Hope itself soars heavenward.
How true, a sad song.
The song of true love,
that must die.
I know this song.
I often heard it sung
in happier days of yore.
There is yet another stanza –
have I still got it in mind?
Though dismal sorrow is drawing nigh,
move up close beside me, my true love.
Turn your wan face to me
death will not part us.
When the hour of death comes one day,
believe that you will rise again.
Here’s a sermon I preached on Mary’s anointing Jesus a few years ago. I think you can see the similarities.
I am moved by the acts of tenderness and love his community shows Jesus as he confronts the Empire, with such great risk. I think he could not have done it without them.
Blessed Good Friday to you.