Of all the narratives in the Bible, I find myself frequently returning to a story that is only three verses long:
But 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 near, 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)
Many years ago, I heard this passage during a Good Friday service, and for some reason in that particular moment, this vignette from the cross completely convicted and invigorated me. It is a reminder that the words of scripture can always become more than mere words on a page. Read in community, they can take on life in very particular ways – we might even say Incarnational ways, as they become infused with meaning.
That’s what happened to me that night. In that moment, I encountered this story of Jesus giving his Disciple and his Mother in Kinship to one another, and suddenly, I began to recall all the people to whom I had been given. Over and over again, this had been true. Particular people with names and faces. . . particular experiences and stories. . . particular affections and expressions of belonging. . . particular ways of building relational language and naming the beauty of our connections.
Over and over again. . .
And since that night, this has continued to happen over and over again. . .
This is sheer gift. We are given to one another — not in a possessive sense, but in giftedness itself. At times, this might come as a surprise. Like the original story, these connections can be born in times of suffering, In such moments, we add comfort and commitment to one another. At other times, they can be born of joy. We discover we have connections deeper than we previously imagined.
And we can marvel about this.
In fact, that’s what happens in this narrative. Jesus gives his Disciple and his Mother toward commitment, but he also gives them toward marveling.
That’s the word.
See each other and marvel.
That’s the Greek word of the original text.
Behold, you belong to one another.
Mother and Son,
You and Me,
All of Us.
We too have been given to one another for this kind of commitment and this kind of wonder.
What if we take some moments, in person or even in our imagination, to allow ourselves to see this giftedness once more, entering an invitation anew to behold and see one another — truly, in the giftedness that is present, real, and alive?
This post is part of a series this week. Feel free to check out the other pieces too: