Lent, Week 3: Behold

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing  by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, "Woman behold thy son!"

Then saith he to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!"  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.  John 19:25-27, KJV

I chose the King James Version of this passage because of the word BEHOLD.


Look at what's happening here.

Don't close your eyes.

Don't pretend it away.

Stay with the suffering.

Witness it.


Within a few hours, Mary will lose her son, and John will lose his friend, to death.

A horrible, painful, unbelievably traumatic death.


We're so quick to turn away from suffering.

So anxious to try and make it go away.

It's hard to stay, to just stay and BEHOLD.

The real reason is this, I think:  we are terrified of our own pain.

When we see others suffering like we are afraid we could suffer, it's hard to stay.

We are scared to death of what will happen when we behold and feel how deep our pain goes, how vulnerable we really are, how DNA-down we believe that we will not be enough for Love.

Because of our own pain, and our fear of our own pain, we can't behold the pain of others.

But Jesus tells us here to BEHOLD.


Don't abandon your own hurt.

Don't abandon the hurt of others.

Instead, stay close with the fellowship of suffering.  

Bring that pain into your own home, into your own heart.  

Live intimately with it.

Let it change the very fabric of your daily life.

Bear down into it, learn to endure.

Release the panic and breathe into patient maturity.

We don't have to run away.

There is Love enough, even in terrible suffering, to BEHOLD.

"I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."  Philippians 3:10

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