2203864Have you checked out the March 21st issue of TIME? (I have the Asian Edition.) The lead story alone, on Mary, mother of Jesus, would justify a Newsweek subscriber like myself picking up this issue.

But I found myself more drawn to a short article in the health section on the phenomena of the “broken heart” (54). There Christine Gorman confesses that:

” I had always assumed a broken heart was just a metaphor, a clich of country music and romance novels. So I was surprised as anyone to learn that doctors now consider it a real event, one that can kill.”

The work was done by a group from John Hopkins. They “described a group of 18 mostly older women and one man who developed serious heart problems after experiencing a sudden emotional shock” The doctors couldn’t explain why “women’s hearts seem more vulnerable than men’s.”

But it would explain why there were mostly women around the cross of Jesus.

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:25 TNIV

After all when your heart is breaking you don’t care what happens to you. You become reckless. You stand around the cross of Jesus with the armed guards looking on. Who cares if you get captured? You are dead already.

I think in particular of Mary, mother of Jesus. Mothers, how would you feel if you saw your son maligned, captured, tortured, stripped, and crucified? Of all the Marys, her heart was broken twice over.

Jesus, looking down from the cross sees this group of crying, weeping women and a few men. Well, John at least. He sees His mother. And John the gospel writer, records this last thing Jesus does before He surrenders His spirit.

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:26-27

This final act of Jesus from the cross in John’s gospel has attracted much discussion as to it’s theological meaning. What is clear is that the dying Lord creates a new community that is based not on biology but on a common love for Him.

Here Jesus’ mother and Jesus’ favourite disciple, interestingly, a woman and a man, were both who loved Jesus. Now Jesus shows them that to love Him is to love others who love Him.

This is made clear in 1 John:

“We love because he first loved us. If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another.” 1 John 4:19 – 21

Or as Herman Ridderbos puts it:

“For in the relationship that the dying Jesus establishes between these two persons, who of all of them were the closest to him, he paradigmatically contracts the image of the coming community that he is leaving behind on earth; and through which in the new dispensation after his death he himself will continue his work.” (The Gospel Of John, 613)

The blood of Christ seeds a new community. This is not a “cheap” community. It has been bought by the blood of God Himself. Yet so often the behaviour of the communities that bear Jesus’ name reflect that we have taken His community for granted.

Here is a recent blog entry:

“I’m probably going to get into big trouble with this, but what the hey.”

I was depressed after reading a few blogs today. And they are Christian blogs, mind you. I’m sure it wasn’t the intention of the bloggers. But I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps from now on I should avoid blogs that espouse that ‘[Doctrine/Theology] is the truth, the only truth, and you better believe it or else.’

I’m just weary, weary, weary of the ‘I know this is the truth and you better believe it or stay deluded’ tone of blogs. I’m sick when I see when I see professing Christians attack those who question or who do not hold the same view as less than Christian or deluded.

I’m tired, not because I don’t believe what they do (couldn’t be bothered, sorry) but because times like this I think that church unity is just a dream brought on by acid trips.

It all started when I did a Technorati search for Brian McLaren to see what people are saying about him. I found a blog Emergent No that basically takes every opportunity to point out the flaws of the Emergent movement.

It’s all right. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, though I’m sure if I set up Calvinism No or Arminianism No I’d get quite a few choicely-worded e-mails. It’s the vitriol and venom that I don’t approve of.

“can’t we just stop being so nasty to each other” These are real people who are searching for God here! Where’s the grace or the love?! Ugh! ” ] (Messy Christian, www.messychristian.com/)

Messy Christian is right on of course. She is not questioning the right of Christians to disagree. After all we all see in a glass darkly this side of heaven. But she, and many others, is questioning the way in which we disagree.

Jesus didn’t die to create a new fight club. We have enough of those already. He died to create a community where broken hearts can find healing, a family where broken hearts can find a home.

Therefore, I don’t think it is anywhere near adequate to commemorate Good Friday as a private mystical experience. Perhaps we should all spend Good Friday repenting on how we have trampled on the blood of Christ, participated in the Lord’s Supper without “discerning the body” (1 Corinthians 11:29-30), and have become sick.

This Good Friday let us look up at the Cross afresh and see the dying Saviour telling us that if we truly love Him, if we truly love Him, we must love each other.

Your brother, Soo-Inn Tan