"behold your mother..."
mixed media collage (acrylic paint, vintage papers, transfer paper, glue)
8' x 10'
gregory a. milinovich
as i continue my creative journey through lent, trying to visualize each of the final words of Christ as we deal with them in our worship at catawissa avenue united methodist church, i have come to words directed to mary and john, which don't often get as much attention as some of the others. "behold your son," and "behold your mother," seem to be words specifically spoken to two of the closest people to Jesus, in an effort to make sure they are provided for and taken care of after his death. but doesn't it seem strange that Jesus would wait until he is hanging on the cross, in unbearable pain and agony, when it is nearly impossible to speak, to take care of this business? couldn't he have taken care of these arrangements before?
or is something else going on here?
one of the things we discussed at church on sunday is that in these words from Jesus we hear a deliberate calling to each of us to behold one another - to actually look at one another - and to see one another as family. so often we pass by one another without a second glance or thought. we are consumed by our selves, thinking about what we need to do, how we feel, and so on. we pass people all the time, without really seeing them. Jesus gives us an important word from his deathbed: notice one another! in the midst of your pain - which john and mary were most certainly going through - notice one another. don't be isolated and withdrawn and consumed in your own pain and grief and brokenness. instead, look at one another.
and when you see one another - really see each other in your pain - see your sister and brother and mother and father and daughter and son. don't see a stranger. don't see an "other." see your own family.
that is the call that echoes down through the centuries. when you visit the nursing home and see people in unspeakable loneliness, hear the call of Christ from the cross, "behold your mothers and fathers!" when you are sweating your face off at vacation bible school, and looking at bunch of sugared-up third graders with cheerios stuck in their hair, and you are trying to teach them about moses and the israelites, notice those sticky little kids and hear the words from the deathbed of Jesus: "behold your sons and daughters."
we are all family. part of one family tree. sisters and brother, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, all of us. connected. related. called to care for one another.