by Rev. Terry Tripp, Co-Director, CFDM Northwest
“Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). John 20:11-16
We could say many things about Jesus’ first appearance post His resurrection. One might comment on the open tomb or the angels, as proof of Jesus being alive. One might wonder at the same question being asked Mary, by the angels and Jesus. Or why did she not recognize Jesus when she first saw him? But for me, today, it’s all about the recognition coming through relationship. Jesus calls her by her name and it is in that naming that there is the restoration of relationship that had existed in one form before the cross and now, in yet a newer form, post. She is asked not to cling to Him – not to hold onto how they once were in relationship, in order for her to move into a new way of being in relationship with her God.
There have been many times that “My tears have been my food day and night,” (Ps. 42:3) I have wept for a life I knew and is no longer – a husband I had and is gone – a ministry I loved as was and has now shifted – family members who have died and a home that is no more. But each time I hear my name being called, I remember “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life” (Ps. 42:8). The recognition of God in relationship with me, always doing a new thing, is the ground of my being and the call of my life – the relationship that is always offered that names who I’ve been, and who I am becoming.