Image Description: A black marker is writing the word “LOVE” on a red heart.
As we remember and honor the death of Jesus this Friday of Holy Week, we ponder injustice and loss. We remember what Jesus and his followers endured millennia ago, and we reflect upon the deep losses and injustices in our world today.
During his life, Jesus loved and included others so fully that it threatened those who wielded power, particularly the leaders of the Roman state. Jesus loved and included others, and he defended them fiercely, especially all who were marginalized. He did this continually in the face of resistance, and ultimately, he did so in the face of an excruciatingly painful execution.
The writers of the four gospels each tell the story of Jesus’ death from particular perspectives, emphasizing different details. The larger narrative is painful as Jesus experiences betrayal, arrest, torture, public ridicule, and death. But even as these details are woven together in the four gospels, there are several moments of grace and human connection. One moment has been especially meaningful to me over the years.
It is a scene from the cross which is told in two, short verses.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, 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 into his own home. (John 19:26-27)
Jesus demonstrated love during his injury and trauma. While he is dying, he gives these two beloved people to one another. Jesus loves them into kinship.
This passage has been especially meaningful to me over the years. I have written about it before, reflecting on the ways my life has been given over to others in the midst of the community. As we embrace the personhood and belonging of one another, we are loved into kinship. These bonds can be just as vital and formative as the bonds we experienced when we were born or adopted into our family of origin.
On this Friday of Holy Week, we remember losses and injustices and we can also remember this vision of kinship. We are called to follow this example. We can do this powerfully when others experience their own losses and injustices, offering ourselves in love as we embrace the personhood and belonging of others.
We can also reflect upon kinship through the lens of the injustices and losses which have taken place this very week. Our world is deeply acquainted with trauma and injury. In the midst of great pain, we are always invited to care for one another in kinship.
We have been loved into kinship.
Now, how will we show that love toward one another?