“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!”
I chose the art for our Easter season bulletins in response to this tender interaction between the resurrected Jesus and the determined, grieving Mary Magdalene in John’s Gospel. In the first hours following his resurrection, Jesus takes time to be with Mary, calling her by name and giving her the opportunity to move from the darkness of grief into the light of his presence in a personal way unique to her, unique to their relationship.
Jesus then does this with each of his followers over the next 40 days. John reports moments with ten of them in a closed room, then the holy and humbling moment with Thomas, then breakfast on the seashore with Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others, then some intense and restoring one-on-one time with Peter. Paul later writes that Jesus appeared to over 500 people in this way, then concludes with the words, “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me”
(1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
But Jesus didn’t stop with Paul; he continues to reveal himself in personal ways even up to this day. In these Easter Days leading up to the Ascension (May 18), I encourage you to set aside regular time to be open to encountering the Resurrected Jesus in ways unique to the two of you. For me this has meant spending time each morning praying, “Meet me, Risen Jesus, and give me grace to rise and meet you,” and then sitting with him and slowly reading through the Sermon on the Mount, listening to the same Rabboni that greeted Mary in the garden. How might you encounter Jesus this Easter Season?
If it seems Jesus is not present to you, let me share these words out of a devotional called Sacred Space that encouraged me:
Lord, you offer me a parable of your dealings with me. Like Mary, I am looking for you, following the call of your love, but not recognizing you because I am too caught up in my own emotion. But all the time you are looking at me, and it is when you call me by name, and reach me with some intimately personal experience, that I recognize you with joy as my Rabboni.
Yes, this is yet another way of receiving the grace the Lord is offering to us this year. You are loved: Abide!
Your Pastor in Christ,