“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 nearby, 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
Passages like this one always mean a great deal to me, and I’m sure to others also, who have family overseas. When I turned the sweet age of nineteen my parents returned to their home country and I remained here to study, get a degree and pursue a career where I had been brought up my whole life – England. Others have had to move here because there was nowhere else to go. Over the years they have watched family members and friends die. And I have only really known this culture. What my parents called home was and is a foreign land to me. This becomes what you know. Whatever it was that you were or were supposed to be has become a shadow of your former self. Probably more than most these people, myself included, have learned that the definition of family and home is not where one is but whom and what one loves. This passage also reminds me of another passage in Scripture: “Then He (Jesus) looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)
I do not mean to say that I no longer call my parents father and mother or neglect my siblings and I don’t think Jesus did either. But as we are the Church, our bond is as strong as our own family units; we consider our brothers and sisters in the faith as if we have the same blood. As Romans 12:5 tells us, “In Christ, we who are many form one body”. And in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “We who are many are one body, for we all partake in one bread.”
And in truth, as the body of Christ, we are even closer to each other than any family member by blood could ever be. Indeed how much more sweet it is to have a brother, son or mother by blood also be your brother, son or mother in the faith.
There are many facets to these few words of Jesus, from the simple fact of a son wishing to console his mother, to an institution by the Son of Man and Son of God in defining every relationship that there is ever to be between the children of God, in order that we all be strengthened and reminded by what power all things move and draw breath.
Hearing Christ’s Word in these verses inspires me to love my own family but also my brothers and sisters in the faith because even dying, suffering on that cross He loved me enough to call me His brother; to call me His child. I will love because I am loved now… because God will never stop loving me. Now I want to love everyone; not because I have to but because I want to… not just my brothers in the faith or my family by blood; but those who need the love of God; those who know everything but the love of God; the world in need.
At Christ Lutheran Church I feel at home; my “family” is here. We are loved by God and we are loved by each other.
We thank You, Lord God, that You have grafted us into Your family. May we grow there to Your glory, Amen.