At The Heart of The Church
Daily Reflection – 6/10/19
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So, they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken, and they be taken down. So, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out. (John 19: 25-34)
There is something quite profound about what Mary and the disciple John represent to us here. Because here are two people who are there with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Two people who believe in his mission. Two people who believe in his claim to be the Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world.
So it seems that what is happening here, between Jesus the Savior and the two people at the foot of the Cross who believe in him, is that a new family is being created.
A new family is created in the shadow of the cross. Through the blood of Christ shed for us, a new home, a new community comes to life. A new family is born.
It is here, at the foot of the cross, as Jesus sheds his blood and a woman embraces a boy and a boy embraces a woman – it is here that the church is formed!
Cyril of Jerusalem said, ‘You cannot have God as your father if you are not prepared to have the church as your mother’.
It is the church, the people of God, through whom God brings us to life. It is the church, in the form of your neighbor or your parents or your colleague or your Sunday school teacher, who first preached the Good news about Jesus to you.
It is the church, the people of God, through whom God nurtures and grows us – whether that is through services, teaching, praying, receiving baptism and communion. It is the church, the people of God, who offer us love and care.
It all starts at the foot of the cross. That is where the Mother of Jesus and the disciple who Jesus loved are standing (John 19:25-26).
At the very heart of the church, of the people of God, is the cross. It is the place where God has put us right with God and right with other people.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, you loved your own to the end. Give me the courage to take up my cross each day in humble obedience to your will and in gratitude and love for your willing sacrifice for my sake. Let me live my days building your Church on this earth.
And yet, is that not what Christ asks of all of us? To stand, unbowed at the foot of his cross, and bear with him, the weight of caring, for all for whom he died.
- Posted in: Reflections