Stand by Me
God on Monday
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 (John 19:25-27).
Can you think of a time when someone stood by you? The affirmation and support you received probably gave you the comfort and encouragement you needed.
I recently spoke at a church where a woman on the leadership team prayed for me throughout my sermon. Whenever I caught her eye and saw her lips moving in prayer, she gave me a smile. It boosted my confidence. After thanking her at the end of the service, I discovered she does this for every preacher, every week! When I asked her why she does this, she simply replied, ’it’s my way of standing with the speaker.’
John is the only gospel writer to capture, in the verses above, the poignant moment at which beloved characters in the gospel story stood with Jesus in the agony of his crucifixion. As Jesus draws closer to death, the three Marys (his mother, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene), and the disciple John, draw close to the cross.
Despite their trauma and grief, they refuse to walk away. They choose community and companionship with Jesus in his darkest hour. Their boldness and bravery, in spite of their sadness and heartache, would have encouraged Jesus, for even he needed the company of friends and family.
Nobody should ever stand alone, not only when they are involved in highly visible ministry in churches but also when they do difficult or unpleasant tasks in ordinary everyday situations, such as in our workplaces.
The three Marys and John challenge us to stand by the cross.
We stand by the cross when we support those in need.
We stand by the cross in our commitment to community, in our refusal to turn away, and in our compassionate response to suffering.
We stand by the cross when we respond to the call to be a disciple like these four disciples -ready and willing to provide solidarity and support.
Lord Jesus, show me who you are inviting me to stand with. Help me to be present in the pain of others. May standing by your cross always compel me to stand by those who suffer.
This Week's Author
, CEO of Kyria Network, Head of Development Skylark International.
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
Feel free to share these reflections with your contacts via email and social media.