With Mothering Sunday looming, here is my meditation written for last years Three Hours at the Cross, on the passage from John 19 that forms one of the options on Mothering Sunday readings, as well as being one of the Seven Last Words of Jesus.
If you wish to re-use this, either now or in Holy Week, please do, with suitable attribution and preferably a message via the comments box as to where you are.
Meditation 1 ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they are doing’
Meditation 2 ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’
(Further meditations in the sequence will be blogged as we draw closer to Holy Week.)
“Woman, this is your son” John 19:25-27
Meanwhile, standing near 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 beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
who gave Jesus his humanity in obedience to God,
stands in heart-breaking solidarity with her first-born,
wracked and broken by the torture of the cross.
There is a dignity about her presence,
a strength in her silence.
For this son,
the strain of pre-marital disbelief;
arduous travel in the name of political statistics;
poverty and exile as the refugee of a violent, frightened dictator;
the fear and confusion of a parent who mis-places a child,
or discovers within them wisdom beyond their years;
the embarrassment of being ‘shushed’ as their offspring finds their own place in the world;
and now the terror of watching that child hijacked
by the unwillingness of leaders to face the truth and change –
the brutality of a regime that kills troublemakers.
Mary still stands with honour,
his agony her own,
and receives a new child to care for,
a new journey of parental anguish,
the requirement to love someone
who will stand in the place of Jesus?
All who have loved and lost their own,
will be uncertain whether Jesus’ parting gift
was really the blessing popularly assigned to it.
Whilst bearing the pain of loss of one on whom all hope is built,
to be given the burden of another,
seems almost too much to bear.
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 whom he died.