“Let grace be grace.” The invitation has wound its way through Lent, summoning me to surrender to love in all sorts of ways. But it’s in one moment on Good Friday that I experience the magnitude of this grace most clearly.
For a moment on Friday morning as I read John 19 I am his mother, watching him hang on the cross, hearing him speak to me, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to his best friend standing beside me, “Here is your mother.”
I want to protest, “Forget about me! Look at you! You are scarcely able to breathe for the pain, the weight of your own body suffocating you!” I’m wringing my hands now. “Oh, how can I help?” It’s all so backwards, so upside-down. Surely this moment at least, this moment of his suffering and death, should be about him, about me caring for him.
But, no. Here on this day when the world is coming to an end, when my heart is hanging there with him on the cross, he tells me that my needs matter. Even here.
This love is too big. I can hardly breathe. I watch him rise again, pressing his feet against the stakes to gulp another lungful of air, and as I watch, I realize:
It’s not “even.” It’s “especially.” Especially here on the cross my needs matter.
That’s why he’s on the cross at all—because I matter to him. Because my needs matter to him more, even, than his own life.
This is the wild, crazy, ridiculously extravagant love that dies to meet my needs for healing, forgiveness, and a certain knowledge that I am forever loved. And this is the love that rises again, carrying me with him into the present, the future, always enfolded in this strong and gentle love that is enough for every need.
Someone sends me Flora Slosson Wuellner's meditation and I find myself pausing over every line, noticing how the risen, living Christ is with me on the other side of the cross, still carefully tending every need within me and loving me into strength and wholeness.
“The risen, living Christ
calls me by my name;
comes to the loneliness within me;
heals that which is wounded in me;
comforts that which grieves in me;
seeks for that which is lost within me;
releases me from that which has dominion over me;
cleanses me of that which does not belong to me;
renews that which feels drained within me;
awakens that which is asleep in me;
names that which is formless within me;
empowers that which is newborn within me;
consecrates and guides that which is strong within me;
restores me to this world which needs me;
reaches out in endless love to others through me."
~Flora Slosson Wuellner , in Prayer, Fear, and Our Powers, Upper Room Books, 1989.
I'll be away from the blog for the next few weeks, first for the next intensive week of classes in my journey deeper into listening and helping others listen, and then for a couple of weeks of rest and celebration with family. As this new season of resurrection life begins, may you know Jesus loving you in each place of longing and need, and I look forward to listening with you again here soon!
Paintings by Patricia Herrerra.