I’ve been thinking about who showed up on the day Jesus died.
Who showed up on the day someone you loved dearly died? Was there violence involved? Injustice? Corruption? Ignorance, or mob mentality? Who showed up the day your loved one died? Were they medical personnel? Emergency first responders? A friend, or neighbor . . . maybe family? Who showed up the day your heart was crushed beyond human repair?
The day Jesus died came suddenly for those who loved him. Just the night before an upper room filled with optimism of a future kingdom, celebration of the annual Passover rituals, stories, songs and rich traditions. Now less than 24 hours, Jesus appeared to be the victim of a massive religious conspiracy.
The Women Show UP
The ones catching my attention for showing up are the women. “Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” 1 Four women wouldn’t leave. They followed the path of Jesus all the way to the place of His execution.
Imagine supporting the mother of Jesus. Imagine her body going limp as it collapses with grief, exhausted with the trauma and overwhelmed by what she sees happening to her son. Imagine holding Mary, gently lowering her to the ground to get the blood flowing again into her head. Think about what you would say or do. Could you say or do anything that would take her pain away? No! Just supporting her and each other through this nightmare is everyone’s focus. But the waves are nauseating. The body can’t hold itself upright. The need to cry out, “Why?” pushes up and through the sobbing tears.
The Gift of Showing Up
In addition to the women, John the beloved disciple is nearby. 2 He too is holding the women and supporting all of them as the drama unfolds and the unthinkable takes place with each pounding spike. Vulgar language wrapping itself around them like filthy old blankets. They will stay no matter what. They will not abandon this death watch.
Jesus, true to His selfless character turns over the care of His mother into the capable respect and love of John. Just think of the privilege John receives in being commissioned to care for Mary! Because he showed up where all the hurting people where, he is invited to embrace Mary as his own mother.
Who Showed Up for You?
I wonder who showed up for you on the day someone you loved died. We were blessed to have our friends Jim and Pam Libby show up for us. Our doctor showed up, and good pastoral care showed up. These are people we can never thank enough. They stepped close into our pain. They walked the distance with us. So many also came to the funeral and followed up later with invitations for meals, cards sent in the mail, and phone calls of encouragement.
But not everyone gets that kind of support. At Comfort for the Day, we are doing all we can to change that possible scenario.
Are You the One Who Showed Up for Another?
I wonder if you were one who showed up for another, walking the halls of the hospital, supplying support for the long haul for a friend caring for a family member on hospice, going to the graveside, being available for the new griever in whatever ways they need most. Supporting friend, you might also have your own grief because you also loved and cared about the one who died.
Maybe the story of the 4 women who stayed with Jesus, supporting each other and especially Mary, is a good example to consider. These women were in the crowd, horrified to hear the shouts, “Crucify Him!” In shock and weeping, they traveled with him along the road to Golgotha. None would leave the foot of the cross until Jesus’ body was removed by Joseph and Nicodemus. Even then they followed the men to the grave and saw the where Jesus was placed. Then early Sunday morning these four friends journeyed in the cover of darkness to get to the tomb safely, only to discover the BEST NEWS EVER! More on that on Sunday.
- John 19:25
- John 19:16
© Karen Nicola 2019