Thought for the Week 22 March 2020

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.

The Gospel of St John, chapter 19, verses 25b-27

On this Mothering Sunday John’s Gospel reveals that Jesus the dutiful son; the true friend was – even from the Cross – attentive to those who loved him, represented by his Mother, and by those whom he loved, represented by the unnamed disciple. Nailed to the Tree, restrained from all physical intervention, held back from being able to embrace those he loved: mother, friend, disciple; unable to console them, or to shield them from his sufferings, in that moment Jesus thought not of his own agony, but of their anguish; not of his impending death, but of their continuing emotional and practical need. And found the means to provide for them.

In our new reality, when we are required to distance ourselves from one another, when our liberty is necessarily curtailed and we are not free to embrace and comfort one another as we would wish, or to open our homes in hospitality to one another; when life feels raw and uncomfortable and fragmented, we can discover new understanding and purpose in finding imaginative ways to reconnect; in re-imagining how we might take one another into our homes by the expansion of our practical loving care towards one another: via a phone call, or Face Time, or What’s App, through the collection of a neighbour’s medication, through a gift left on the doorstep or a card posted through a letter box. Through laughter across the garden fence, or a shared activity in adjacent spaces. By our love for one another. And by our prayers for one another.

Leslie Player, Rector Western Downlands Benefice