Tender Presence

"Being" at the cross, we witness the tender presence and care of a few both named and gathered around Jesus. The entire scene, beyond the profound theological implications of Jesus' death, seems like a prophetic display of the transformation which occurs in those who gather around the Presence of Christ. Observing closely, we see that those gathered around Jesus recognize him for who he really is and act with tender compassion towards him and his body.

And we wait with them learning again and again that in dying comes new life...

Mark 15:33-47 (NLT)
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”
37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. 41 They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.
42 This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) 44 Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. 45 The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. 46 Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, a phrase, image, or feeling that stood out to you as you listened? Bring it into your prayer with Jesus.

Bring your own experience of abandonment / giving up / surrender / death to false self into prayer with Jesus. How is he with you in it? Does he have something to say to you?

Be with Jesus in his dying and death, either at a distance or by his side. Is there something you want to tell him?