The events of that week marked the culmination of the short three-year ministry of an itinerant preacher and his band of followers. History tells us that there was nothing spectacular about this particular preacher. He was not the only one in his time claiming to be the Son of God, or even doing miraculous works. His message, however, was something uniquely contagious. It was a message that sparked a revolution of consciousness. It was a message of love.
We don't often think of love when we think of the Easter story. We remember that the week began, and ended, in celebration. We also remember the darker times – the somber last supper; the betrayals; the trial; the torture; the crucifixion. What we don't often realize is that during this week, Jesus continued to share and demonstrate his message of love. It was during this week that he told all who would listen about the two greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. They were the two statements that best summarized his ministry of healing and forgiveness; perhaps his entire life's mission.
It was also during this time that we witness a tender moment of reconciliation between mother and son. It was a fleeting moment, overshadowed by weightier events. Yet it showed us that, even at the deepest point of despair, love prevails. Many came to witness his death, including his mother. It is enough that a parent should outlive their child, but words fail to articulate what she must have felt to see her son die this way. The Roman occupiers meant for crucifixion to be a deterrent for future criminals, so it was as brutal a death as could be meted out. Yet there Mary stood, at the foot of the cross on which her first born was slowly dying. She was telling him, in the only way she knew how, "I am here for you." John, one of Jesus' closest disciples, was also there. Jesus said to him, "Here is your mother," and to Mary, "Here is your son." By establishing this 'adoption', Jesus was telling her, in the only way he could, "I am here for you."
A stranger witnessing this exchange might have thought that mother and son were always close. Not so. Their relationship may have been strained. Earlier in his ministry he was rejected by the people in his hometown. On another occasion he refused to see her and his brothers, saying the disciples and those doing the will of God were his family now. This may seem all too familiar to some of us. When we find the thing in life that gives it meaning, and we follow it, it may take us away from the ones we love the most, and the ones who love us the most. As we live life to the fullest expression of who we are, some may choose to distance themselves from us, or we from them. We may grow into beliefs that differ from that of our upbringing, and that may not sit well with those who brought us up. It may be civil disagreement, or it might be undisguised vitriol.
And if asked, we would go to the cross for them. In this way, love prevails. Unity's cofounder Charles Fillmore said that love is "the great harmonizer." Love is that divine power which lets us, in an instant, see beyond any gulf of separation and unforgiveness. It is love, not obligation, that gives us the resolve to try one more time, to make one more call, to appear at a bedside after decades of silence, to accept what we cannot understand, to heal what we imagined was forever broken.
This is the message of Easter. It is love saying, "I am here for you."
This post was first printed in Unity Magazine as a contemporary response to a classic Unity writing. Subscribe to Unity Magazine to read the entire article