August 22, 2013

Thank God for the Women!

Some words shared at a community Good Friday Service.  My assignment was to consider the Word of Affection (John 19:25-27).

Thank God for the women! 

The women never betrayed Him.  The women never spoke a word against Him.  The women never raised a hand in opposition to Him.  And, here we see, the women never deserted Him.

Thank God for the women!

His first missionary was a woman He met at a well.  She went and told everyone to "come and see!"

Thank God for the women!

His first miracle was for a bride.  The wine had run out and, so she would not be shamed, He turned water into wine.  Let the celebration continue!

Thank God for the women!

His first words after His resurrection were to some women who showed up to take care of the body.  (Brothers, I'm not sure where the men were.  The women were even discussing among themselves who they would get to roll the stone away.  Seems as if the men folk were busy that morning.  Discussing matters of grave importance I am sure.)

Thank God for the women!

Born of a virgin.  Nursed at her breast.  Showered with her praise.  Cared for by her hand.  Fed at her table.  Taught by her word.  Comforted by her presence.  Yes, now, at the last, again, comforted by her presense.  "Jesus...saw his mother standing nearby."

Thank God for the women!

We struggle to conceive of the anguish dear Mary must have felt on that Friday afternoon.  There hangs her dear son, naked, mocked, humiliated, and she does not cry out.  She hears His cry of thirst and is unable to meet His need.  She sees Him struggle for breath and is unable to offer Him aid.  She sees, all too clearly, the wounds and is unable to tend them.  She looks upon that blessed brow, now pierced, and is unable to soothe its hurt.  Certainly she thinks again of Simeon's words to her that day in the temple when they dedicated Him, "and a sword will peirce your soul..."

Thank God for the women!

Here we find a son speaking to his mother.  That is respect.
Here we find a son providing for his mother.  That is responsibility.
Here we find a son caring for his mother.  That is love.

Thank God for the women!

But look, standing there with her is another. One simply described as "the disciple whom He loved."  This one had deserted Jesus a few short, dark hours ago.  This one had made bold professions of loyalty and courage, "Never will I desert you!"  The pride and machismo ran naked into the darkness when the soldiers came.  The bravado and bluff disappeared like the smoke from the torches in the mob's hands and all he carried with hm was his shame.

Yet, now we find him, "the disciple whom He loved," standing near the cross.

Would he find rebuke?
Would he be greeted with a sneer?
Would he simply be ignored?

"To err is human; to forgive, divine." (Alexander Pope)

Here we see them together.  The erring human standing before the crucified and forgiving divine.

"And he took her into his own home from that hour."

Rather than a rebuke he was given a responsibility.
Rather than a snub he was given salvation.
Rather distrust he was given a life-long trust.
Rather than hearing a grievance he was given a grace; a mother.

Thank God for the women.

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