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February 24

John 19, 23 – 27

Something to read

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.’ And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near 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 beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

It was just another job. The rag-and-bone-men soldiers were intent on getting their share of the prisoners’ clothes, even if that meant tearing them up, unless that proved too difficult. Their indifference haunts scenes of torture and execution down the ages.

It is contrasted here with the loving concentration bestowed on the dying Christ by his mother and the handful of friends brave enough to attend the crucifixion.

Just as he did with his disciples when he told them to love one another, Jesus redirects their loving gaze to one another. Even in his agony, his concern is for them.

As Jesus places his grieving mother in the care of one of his disciples, he demonstrates what he was doing when he blurred the dividing line between his followers and his biological family.

Something to do

How different our society would be if, when somebody lost a partner, child, or parent, their friends stepped in and supplied their wants. ‘Here is your son, mother, etc’ Don’t leave bereaved people to flounder.

Please contact anybody you know who is mourning — especially when the first few weeks have passed, and the support and care have dropped away — and offer them your love.

Something to pray

Lord, we pray that we might be spared the horror of untimely bereavement and loss. Make us more active members of your family, the church, so that we can comfort those who mourn. Amen

Today’s contributor is Paul Handley, Managing Editor of The Church Times


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