40 blogs of Lent, day 34
7 last words from the cross
Behold your son
Behold your mother
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, 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 to his own home. John 19:25-27
Plagiarism is the insincerest form of flattery.
But I was moved by a sermon in Holy Trinity Huddersfield on 6th March this year (Mother’s Day in the UK) that I am going to steal large chunks of it.
A lonely mother in a lonely place, Mary at the cross.
No one could know that agony. No one would hurt like Mary did. No one else had seen the man she saw dying now on her lap as a baby, had stroked his dark curls, had suckled him at her breast, told him bed time stories. Simple things.
Now, in the heat of the day, she watched powerless as her son hung on a cross. Hanging helplessly humiliatingly. Betrayed, his body bruised, battered, blood stained.
There were no kind reassuring words from professionals for her, she was not able to touch her son’s head or even to touch the cross he hung on. she was not able to offer her dying son soothing words, she could only watch and suffer that agony alone.
And what could she pray, what could she say? “God let it be over quickly?” And was God listening anyway? Watching him die in the cruellest of ways, pinned to a cross, all her hopes and dreams in pieces.
She/s seen his friends run away, she’d seen him betrayed. Now she stands aching in the midst of angry words, bitterness, rage, vicious language. A mob braying for the death of the child she loves.
And nearby, also alone is young John. Confused, seeing his hopes dying with his revered leader. Losing not only his dear friend, but a whole way of life and the possobility for freedom.
Just a few years later, the apostle Paul rejoiced at the birth of a church in Ephesus would hang his head in despair at what was happening in that very community. “For this has Jesus died?” So his brothers and sisters could all shout at each other, brawl with each other. So that bitterness, anger, hurt and fury could thrive. For grudges to be nursed and slanderous talk to prosper. They were the body of Christ, what were they playing at?
But back at the cross, Jesus catches the eye of his mother. What comfort he must have felt to see her there. But what pain too, knowing that he couldn’t care for her any longer. And he turns his eyes across to the disciple he loved.
“Here is your son.
“You see, I’m dying, Mum, and I won’t be here for you, but here’s one that will be. Here is one that loves me dearly. Here is one that braved it out to come and stand by the cross as I died. He used to lie on my breast and listen to me, who knows me. I’m giving you to him. He’ll care for you and help you remember me and he’ll remind you of the promises God made to you and his people.”
And he says to his disciple, “Here’s your mother.”
” You see I can;t be here for her, You must take on the role of son now. Cling to each other and hold on to my teachings and my promises. Speak of me often and remember how I love you.”
From that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Under the cross the community of Christ was born. Jesus instigated it.
I you want to hear the sermon in full and in context, it is published on the Holy Trinity Huddersfield web site. Look for Sunday 6th March 2016.
None of this was my own work. Sorry about sharing this witout permission, Bev. I deserves a wider audience.