If Jesus Were Married

Bride holding bouquet of flowers

by Peggy Michael-Rush

she would be a woman of enormous strength
a heart that is not afraid of sorrow
able to love through chaos
and stand against angry mobs

he would know that she could
hold her own
when harassed by his critics
with inappropriate questions

because inquiring minds
want to know

she would not be perfect
getting angry when her husband
came home shredded by the righteous
labeled, scorned, damned and dismissed

she’d tell him she didn’t sign up
for this
never knowing if he’d come home alive
or stoned in a pit like some criminal

but she’d hold him at night
when his body was beyond weary
wipe his tears when he doubted
whisper prayers when God was silent

he would know a woman’s needs
her passion, her sorrow, her laughter
he would understand her struggles
her challenges in a man-worshipping world

he would think of her
when the adulteress was thrown at his feet
like a piece of garbage not fit for scavengers
as if her life meant nothing, as if she weren’t human

he would think of her
when he saw the women outside the sanctuary
shut out like cattle
condemned to second-best

he would imagine her
when the preachers spoke of Eve
as the mother of all sin
and all women as her damned offspring

he would feel the burden of his gender
when he saw a woman beaten
and no one turned to look
or when a woman’s husband bragged of his exploits

“I’m sorry,” he’d say to her tenderly
understanding the battles she fought
the demons she stared down
the lies against her spoken as God’s word

in her eyes he remembered his mother
who embodied the power of a woman
the tender fierceness of her love
her courage in a painful world

she taught him how to love a woman
to listen, to see her for the unique gift
that God made her to be
to respect her as whole and equal and gifted

If Jesus were married
it would help explain why
he valued women higher than his contemporaries
and risked his life to go against church teachings

it would make sense of how
he stood against an angry mob with weapons
to defend the woman who committed adultery
with a man who got away

her soul would be pierced
with the proverbial sword
when the angry mobs, in their fear
killed the very one who could save them

she would learn to live with that sorrow
she would struggle to love again
when it seems that love only shatters the heart
but she would remember her husband’s words

Do not be afraid, my love,
I am with you always

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