As we enter Holy Week, I am reflecting on the friends that were around Jesus as he made the final walk to Jerusalem. In that motley crew of disciples we don’t often hear the names of the women who surrounded Jesus. We know his mother was there, and Mary Magdalene. We hear of other women like Susanna. Yet the focus is often on the male disciples with Jesus.
In that group of disciples was Peter who would deny Jesus in his final hours, and Judas who would betray him. We know Thomas would question the veracity of the resurrection a few days later. And we hear that when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane facing what he knew was ahead of him and even bargaining with God, “if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me,” most of the disciples fell asleep while waiting and many would fall away when things got really tough.
But the women. The women remained. The women were there. The women were the last to be at the foot of the cross and the first to arrive at the empty tomb. They were faithful to the end and beyond. They were the first to encounter the risen Christ. And even though Mary Magdalene mistook Jesus as the gardener when she first met him after the resurrection, it didn’t take her long to say, “My Lord, and my God.”
I remind us of these important friends of Jesus because sometimes it’s the people we least expect who show up and stay with us during the difficult times. Sometimes those we expect to be with us fall away. But our call is always to look for the outliers, the least expected ones, the ones who are faithful and reach out to help.
Then our call is to accept the help people offer to give…that might be the hardest thing of all to do.
Blessings and love to you all,
Rev. J. Elise Brown