What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

from “What Wondrous Love Is This,” American Folk Hymn

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Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

After this, knowing that everything was already completed, in order to fulfill the scripture, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was nearby, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, placed it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.

John 19:25-30

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When things get difficult for me, I tend to focus more on myself. If I’m sick, I want my friends to drop everything to take care of me. If I’m sad, we don’t talk about anything they’re going through, because I’m so focused on whatever has me down. The harder things are, the more self-centered I become.

Does that sound familiar to you?

I hope not, because today’s passage makes me realize how different I am from Jesus. Even from the cross — when it’s hard to imagine that things could be any worse — Jesus isn’t focused on himself. Instead, Jesus looks down and sees his mother and the disciple that he loves (most scholars think he’s talking about John). He wants to make sure that they are both taken care of, so he matches them together.

If I were on the cross, the last thing I’d be worried about is the welfare of the people looking up as I died. But Jesus’ wondrous love puts others first, even when his pain is at its worst.

Chip Hardwick

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Oh Lord, keep stretching me to look beyond myself and to care for others, even when I’m in the midst of pain and struggle. In the name of the Jesus, amen.

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Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

from “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Isaac Watts

Chip Hardwick

Chip Hardwick moved to Chicagoland in early 2018 in order to serve as an interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, IL. He is hoping to get his cat, Ahoy, interested in Holy Week activities this year.

Reflections on the Way: The Great Physician Now is Here - Mozart Melody

Ken Medema

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