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. (John 19:25-27)
The world is reeling from the pandemic. Its citizens hold their collective breaths in anticipation of a second wave projected in the Fall of 2020. We search for meaning. We look for hope. We want to believe in something greater than that which we are experiencing.
This passage from John offers us both hope and courage.
Reflect on the scene with me. Here we stand at the foot of the cross. Watching the man whom we believe is the Son of God crucified on a cross. Standing at the foot of the cross stands His mother. Can you imagine her pain, her suffering? Suffering was not new to Mary.
Mary suffered when she gave birth in a filthy stable, far from home. Mary suffered when she heard that Herod wanted to kill her baby. Mary suffered when she was forced to become a refugee in Egypt. Mary suffered as she watched a whole nation misunderstand and taunt her son. And here, at the foot of the cross, Mary suffers again as she watches her son being crucified for a crime he has not committed.
Jesus thinks about his mother. He knows how much she is suffering. Watching her in pain was torment enough, let alone everything else he was going through in those moments. Even in his dying moments, Jesus’ concern was for the future well-being of his family. He looks down at Mary and his disciple John. 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. Jesus sees in them a new family.
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!
Mary brought the Son of God into mortal life. She now steps forward to help form a new family.
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.
At the very heart of the church, of the people of God, is the cross. The Christian Church binds us to one another. His blood flowing from that cross covers each of us and emboldens each of us to believe in Him, to believe in the family of human kind, to live a life that is centered on His teachings, to understand that we are not one, not alone but brother and sister to one another, and when the time comes for each of us to pass, to know that there is not darkness but rather the brilliance of His love to help us on the next step of our journey. (to be continued).
Prayer of The Day
Lord, we pray that you bless your family who form your Church so that we might become a place that embraces the lonely , the injured, the suffering person and welcomes the stranger, for the glory of your name. Amen.
Whatever else Jesus intends with these words from the cross, he means to signal a hopeful future: with God as our Father, Jesus as our elder Brother and the Spirit as the One who unites the brokenhearted, like Mary and John and the rest of us, into a family that, by grace, becomes a foretaste of the home for which our hearts everlastingly yearn.