Ezra had started it, quite inadvertently.
Maude had sent him illustrations of some of the greatest masterpieces in Europe. Among them was a drawing of Michelangelo's Pieta. "The artist...did he take liberties?" Josiah asked.
"No," Ezra said, marveling. "This is, purportedly, exactly what the statue looks like. The Madonna holding the body of the crucified Christ."
Josiah frowned at the picture. It troubled him.
Over the next few days, he found his thoughts returning again and again to that picture. To the expression on the Virgin's face.
Finally, he realised what about it was bothering him so badly. It wasn't natural. There was no way a mother would look so serene after seeing her son murdered before her eyes!
Not even that mother!
He complained bitterly about it in his evening prayers after it struck him, then it was as if God had answered him. Josiah spent the rest of that evening chuckling and the next day had a smile that couldn't fully be erased.
Michelangelo was many things -- but above all, he was human. And human beings made mistakes.
Who's to say her serene expression wasn't just an artist's mistake?
His faith shaken but slightly more mature, Josiah resumed his place among the Seven.
Authourís Note: That statue always bothered me, for the reasons they bothered Josiah. When I became a mother, it bothered me more. So I wrote this poem to vent my feelings.
by Enola Jones
She must have cried, she must have screamed,
She must have begged for it not to be so. For to see her son like that before her eyes Is an agony no mother should ever know.
The skies darkened, the thunder rolled... The ground began to pitch and toss. But the only thing the woman could comprehend Was her son was nailed to a rough cross.
"Woman, behold your son...behold your mother..." So gentle and kind were the words he spoke. And John must surely have held her tight As her sword-pierced heart fully broke.
When it was over and they cut him down, For his body she surely dove. The soldiers couldn't stop her, even if they would, So great is a mother's love.
In good time, she would know him as Lord
As the Spirit's work in her was done.
But for now, as she held him and wept,
Jesus was merely her son.
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