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Communion Meditations (2020)

 

Friends of Mary

Originally scheduled for February 23

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a somewhat enigmatic figure in the New Testament. For someone who occupies such a unique position of importance she is mentioned at only a few occasions. One of those moments is at the Crucifixion. It is only recounted in John’s Gospel. This is fitting, for the incident in question is when Christ assigns the care of Mary to his beloved apostle, John. There is much speculation as to why John was chosen, but I would draw your attention to another oddity: why did Jesus wait until he was being crucified? Was this a case of Christ waiting for just exactly the right moment?

One thing is certain: it is a great example of how Jesus cares for those he loves. Of all the women on earth, mother is probably the most precious. John is the best friend of Jesus, and now is tasked with taking care of Christ’s mother. It is arguable that Christ might have forgotten this; after all, compared to dying it’s a relatively trivial detail. That makes it an example of how much Jesus cares. Even when he is suffering and dying, his thought is for others.

There were at least three other women present at the time. On Easter Sunday, these women went to the tomb to embalm the body of their Lord. It seems curious that Mary was not along with them. Normally, embalming the dead is something done by the family. Mary is the matriarch of the family; normally it would be her responsibility. If you have ever seen a dead body of a traffic accident victim, you have an idea of how miserable a task this would be. Christ’s body would not be a pleasant sight. It seems likely that these three women decided that as an act of kindness to Mary, they would take over that responsibility. We may even see it as Christ setting an example of his love, which was followed by these three women. It’s a dirty job; there’s no real reward — but the example of love and kindness set for them thus inspired them to do the dirty work.

Communion brings up the memory of the crucifixion to us. That memory should not only remind us of his sacrifice, but inspire us to imitate his love. There is no greater love than a man who gives up his life for his friends, and Christ did that for us. So I would ask you this morning: is there some task you can perform for one of your fellow Christians that would be a demonstration of love and imitation of Christ? As you leave this place this morning, remember his sacrifice and the example it sets. Then, “go and do likewise.”

 

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