40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross

As we move closer to the time of remembering Jesus’ death, this week’s poem comes from Ukrainian-born poet Anna Akhmatova, whose poem sequence “Requiem” explores the grief that she and others witnessed of the height of Stalinist rule. One striking image that Akhmatova returns to continually throughout the sequence is that of a mother mourning for the imminent death of her son. This reaches its climax in the poem “The Crucifixion”, the second last in the sequence, where the grieving mother clearly takes the form of Mary weeping beside the Cross. Akhmatova’s poem, along with the emotional intensity of Rogier van der Weyden’s painting and the searing pain in Loud Harp’s song “Weeping Mary”, perfectly captures for me how the Cross gives consolation by making space for our grief to be brought to Jesus. He knows our pain; He entered it at the Cross. The poem, art and music this week seem to me to be an invitation to join at Jesus’ side with all our weeping and anguish and to find comfort there.

Rogier van der Weyden, “Christ on the Cross with Mary and Saint John”, c.1460

Published by Matthew Pullar

Teacher, writer, blogger, husband, father, Christian. Living in Wyndham in Melbourne's west, on the land of the Kulin Nation. Searching for words to console and feed hearts and souls.

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