David, king of Israel, uttered that heart-breaking cry upon learning that his third son had been killed. O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God that I had died for thee!
It occurred to me that many decades after, another parent in the same land might have uttered a similar lament. As she cradled his son’s battered body in her arms, Mary might have had the same thought. O my son, my son, my son! Would God that I had died for thee! The phrase “heart-breaking” applies to her even more than it does David, for a sword pierced her soul, too.
I could not help thinking that perhaps a father might have cried together with her. O my son, my son, my son! Except that the Father would not say ‘would God’, I suppose. But this is something that I would not venture to speculate or write about.
And of course, throughout the ages, many parents throughout the world have had to suffer a similar painful moment. Young soldiers killed in battles; children died of various illnesses; teenagers died of traffic accidents … Why, my own grandmother buried two of her eight children. I believe that to outlive one’s children is among the most grievous miseries one could experience.
To return to our first subject (please bear my imaginations), long after David came to the land of the dead, on what must have been a very strange day in Hades, perhaps he learned that another son of his had died. And this time the death served a greater purpose. Absalom died as he betrayed his father; this other Son died for David. Absalom died as he rebelled against David’s reign; this other Son of David died to right another, much more ancient, rebellion.