John 20:15-16 “He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for? Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
It is so easy in the days and weeks after Easter to quickly forget the importance of the event we just celebrated. The stores are full of half off bins of anything “Easter”, leaving the shelves re-purposed for the next worldly holiday. Other than the fact that you can get chocolate for an excellent sale price, I find the entire picture a little depressing.
Did you know that Christ remained among His disciples and family for 40 more days after Easter, teaching them, guiding them, helping them get ready to become the leaders of His church? Easter morning was only the beginning of a series of events that would define the gifts that He gave us when He died for our sins.
Careful reading of the scriptures that follow the events of that first Easter morning will show you that He was very purposeful in when He appeared to His followers. Many times, they had no idea it was Him until He spoke their name. How much this realization hit me! How often has He been watching and waiting, ready to help me but I wasn’t listening for my name to be called?
As I sat outside this morning, tired and discouraged, feeling like I have accomplished nothing lately, I could feel myself giving in to doubt. The doubt that comes from wondering if you really are doing His work, if anything really matters, if you ever will be able to succeed at anything. I began to feel my sense of purpose slipping, sliding down that mountain I have worked so hard to climb up.
As I read the words in John this morning, I thought of Mary. She had been through so much. She had finally gotten her life back together. She had overcome the stigma, conquered the doubters, been given a front row seat at the feet of God. Yet, over the course of a few days, her world seemed to have collapsed. There was nothing that she could see that had any meaning anymore.
I would imagine she was quite the sight that morning. It said she had rushed to the tomb, probably not taking time to flat iron her hair or put on any decent earrings. Her clothes were a hot mess and her mascara was definitely running down her face from the blubbery sobs of the whole burial process. I doubt that she felt beautiful or special or even wanted at that point. Who was going to be there for her now?
Then He tenderly spoke her name. In that moment, in that heart pounding, enlightening crystal clear moment in time, her world came back together. He had not left her. He had not abandoned her. He had not taken away all that He had given her. And with the clarity that comes from a total faith in Him and all that He stands for, she knew that all would be made right, even if all she could do was stand and stare at Him.
There is no need, dear friend, to feel alone. He will walk with you, talk with you, fill you with joy. Yes, your world may be dark. Yes, your world may be full of pain. Yes, you may have a child who has wandered, you may be broken in mind or body, you may feel friendless and betrayed. But you are not alone! He is there! In the garden, on the shore, in the valley, on the mountain top, beside you every step of the way. Cry out to Him in your circumstance and let Him tenderly whisper YOUR name today.
Dearest Abba, we thank You so much for this glorious day that You have given us. Thank You for showing us that we need to be listening for You to tenderly whisper our name. Give us strength and courage to face the day, with all its challenges, because we know that You are there beside us. Remind us of the words to the song “In The Garden – And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own: And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.” Thank You for walking, talking, and sharing with us. In the name of your Son, Christ Jesus, who whispers our name every day, Amen