This is my communion meditation for tomorrow at the Contact Church.
A few years ago, Tony Dungy was coaching the Indianapolis Colts through another successful football season. Without warning, he received a call informing him that his oldest son Jamie had taken his life while attending college in Florida. Jamie Dungy's death shocked the family. Jamie had been a very good and compassionate young man, the type of son who would make any father proud.
After Jamie's death, Coach Dungy and his wife Lauren were uncertain about what to do. He wrote in Quiet Strength, "In an effort to bring some good out of this, I have tried to assist others...We began by donating Jamie's organs. Today two people can see, thanks to his corneas. A businessman wrote me after the funeral to tell me he's working less in order to spend more time with his son. A young girl wrote a letter to us, saying that although she's always attended church, she dedicated her life to Christ after watching our family at Jamie's homegoing service" (page 262).
In a radio interview a couple of years later, Coach Dungy told his interviewers about how the death of Jamie led to two people receiving their eye sight back, to families becoming closer, and to people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. But, he added, if the Lord had revealed to him that Jamie's death would have helped so many people in so many ways, he still would have asked the Lord to spare his son.
I thought about Tony Dungy's words while reading about the time when Joseph and Mary presented their baby Jesus at the temple for his circumcision. While at the temple, the small family came across a prophet named Simeon who immediately recognized their baby as the long-expected Messiah. After informing Mary that her Son would be a great man in Israel and would face strong opposition, he warned her, "(A)nd a sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Luke 2:35, English Standard Version).
The prophet Simeon foresaw the anguish in Mary's soul as she would watch her Son being executed on a Roman cross three decades into the future. Mary was cryptically warned that her Son would die for the benefit of others.
I'm not sure how much Mary understood the message, but I know that she suffered terribly as she watched her Son die for not only herself, but for people like us too.
Today, as we take part in the communion, we pause to appreciate the pain. Through the pain of the cross, we benefited. Mary lost a Son (for a few days) so that we could be saved forever.