We usually associate standing on the sidelines with sitting out as the highlight reel hardly pans to those standing beyond the boundaries of play. Yet, an argument could be made for the importance of those on the side. Often 11 guys take the field but there are 99 others who push those 11 to the top. From the marvelous to the mundane, those on the field often know they do not stand alone.
As Christ bowed His head on the cross, His eyes gazed upon those who stood beside Him. Mary and John were actively present along the Way of the Cross to the moment when He “commended up HIs Spirit.” Their consoling presence was not intended to change the outcome of His fateful finish. Rather, they stood as loyal friends who trusted that what appeared to be a great defeat would indeed be the final Victory. They stood in Hope knowing that the cross was not, and does not, have the final word. As a result, what they offered paled in comparison to what they received – His vulnerability, as He shared His wounds, and the gift of one another as He commended them to behold one another.
Though we can not fight one another’s battle, we can actively stand on the sidelines, like Mary and John, so that those who fight know they don’t do so alone. Who’s on your sideline? Who makes you better and supports you in all seasons? How are you called to stand with, and for, others – especially when you can’t change circumstances or outcomes? When we stand on the sidelines, may we stand in Hope believing that the cross always leads to new life.