2 Corinthians 1 3-7
Reflecting on the second reading this morning, the thing that comes most to my mind is ‘hope’. Hope isn’t just a nice thing to have. It’s a vital necessity—particularly in times of trial. Without it, we take desperate actions that we regret later, or make wrong turns in life that lead us even deeper into trouble.
What a blessed thing it is when, in those times of trial, God sends someone to stand beside us that’s ‘been there’—someone who genuinely loves us, sincerely understands our troubles, honestly knows the right way to go, shows us the way to get there, holds our hand along the way, and is patient with us and committed to us even when we stumble and fall. Such a person—sent from God—is an ambassador comfort; and it’s through a relationship with such a person that God builds hope into us.
God alone gives the kind of comfort that leads to hope. That kind of life-changing comfort is passed along to through loving and nurturing relationships with others in their times of suffering. And I believe that this passage expresses this - and now more than ever as Christians it is time to stand up and be counted. If we are people of faith then let us BE people of faith.
John 19: 25-27
Jesus entrusted Mary to the disciple John. But he didn’t entrust her to his brothers and sisters, who were still alive. We know that he had four brothers - James, Joseph, Simon and Judas - and some sisters who are not named. That seems a little strange. Surely one of them could have looked after their mum into old age?
But Jesus doesn’t pursue that option. Why? What else is going on here?
There is something quite profound about what Mary and the disciple John represent to us here. Because here are two people who are there with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Two people who believe in his mission. Two people who believe in his claim to be the Son of God, the Lord and Saviour of the world. This is in stark contrast to Jesus’ brothers. In John 7:5, we are told quite starkly, “Not even his brothers believed in him.”
So it seems that what is happening here, between Jesus the Saviour and the two people at the foot of the Cross who believe in him, is that a new family is being created. Verse 26 again: “Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, ‘He is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘She is your mother.’ From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.”
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
And as we celebrate together in spirit this morning, kneeling together at the foot of the cross, sharing the body of Christ - so we are continuing the work that Jesus started that day we are church, we are family, we will love and care for each other and as Jesus stretched his arms on the cross , so we will reach out to those around us.