Behold Your Mother

A few years ago, a good friend of mine almost lost her son. He was using dangerous street drugs, and even though he was in and out of treatment, could not seem to get clean. Things seemed to take a turn for the worse when he caused a terrible car accident, and wound up in prison.
As my friend coped with this new reality, she began to see the world in a different light. She had always thought of drug addicts as people who lived in cities, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, people not ‘like us.’ But coming to grips with her own son’s addiction changed the way she looked at things. Suddenly she felt a kinship with other mothers sitting in the waiting room, hoping to see their sons behind the glass in their prison jumpsuits. She understood the kids she worked with in an inner-city school, that this was a reality they lived every day, just like her. When she heard police reports of drug activity in the rough part of the city, she no longer tuned it out, but remembered instead that her own son used to go there to use. She felt the people in the news story were no longer strangers to her, but a kind of family.
From the cross, Jesus said, “Woman, here is your son.”
It is probably no coincidence that it is from the place of suffering that Jesus issues this statement. The fact that we are one human family is true all the time, but often it is only in the place of suffering or difficulty that we recognize and accept this truth.
This is a time of global suffering: economic suffering as inflation rages and supply chains crumble; physical suffering as people struggle with the continuing effects of global pandemic as well as war; the emotional suffering of anxiety and grief. The injustices of the world are magnified for the poor and those who live in war zones. But the truth is, we are all in this together. We are all susceptible to the same fears and disasters. And so we have the opportunity to see that what is true: Now we are all mothers. Now we are all sons.
In this time of struggle, in this place of suffering at the cross, we see clearly: our fate is tied with everyone else’s. We are intimately interconnected. And in this, there is a gift: we are not alone. We have each other, mothers and sons, united in our very human experience, united by the one on the cross.
This cross of Jesus is not the end. It is our connection, where heaven meets earth, where death meets life, and finally, where we meet each other as the family we are. The cross of Jesus is the lens of faith through which we see suffering of the world, trusting there is not only a tree of death, but also resurrection to new life.
Blessed Good Friday,
Pastor Julie

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