Today’s Reading: Mark 15:33-41

Few if any stories in scripture move me as much as this story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. It’s hard to even find words to describe the sorrow and devastation it makes me feel. As I read today, I find myself wanting to rush forward past the death of Jesus, past the mourning and the waiting, to the resurrection. My tendency is to want to say, “Oh, but it’s not permanent,” or ‘But this story doesn’t have the final word” Whille this is true, we don’t do our Christian story justice by skipping past the pain of Christ’s death. If we don’t wrestle with this, if we don’t let it break our hearts, we are missing something.

Today, I need to take seriously what it means that Jesus was so committed to the way of love that he endured pain and suffering beyond anything I can imagine. It makes me wonder… am I that committed to anything? Would I give my life for peace and for justice? I hope so, but sometimes I fear in my heart that I am not. It makes me pause and reflect on what it would take for me to love “love” enough to truly give my whole self over to love’s work.

I see other characters in this story who embody love, too. I am inspired by the women who watch, the women who, unlike the disciples the night before, hold vigil with Christ. Even though we haven’t heard much about these women before, the text tells us that they have been with Jesus for a long time, not just following and learning from him, but serving and caring for him. Now, in the time when Jesus feels forsaken, not just by his friends but also by God, these women are there with him. I can’t imagine that they felt safe. Surely they felt the danger around them and certainly, it would have been safer and easier for them to not be there. Yet they knew where they needed to be. They knew where they were needed.

My prayer today is that I too can have such love and dedication to God that I am willing to risk being present wherever I am needed, no matter the cost. May I never think anything is more important than being present with and for those who feel forsaken.

What moves you in this somber story of Christ’s crucifixion and death?