He Calls Our Name
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Mary was distraught over the loss of Jesus. She had gone early that Sunday morning to his tomb to mourn his death. What she discovered was an empty tomb with two angels who told her that Jesus was no longer dead. Staggered by the news she could not comprehend she wandered out and ran into a man she presumed to be the gardener. There in the midst of her utter pain and desolation she heard the voice of one who loved her. He didn't need to say anything more than simply call her by name, "Mary." In that instant she knew that it was Jesus and she turned and responded with "Rabbouni!" In that instant her life changed and for the remainder of her life here on earth she was a leader in the movement of the "The Way" -- having been the evangelist -- the one to carry the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Isn't it just like Jesus to love someone in a warm embrace by gently calling them by name? Maybe we can't imagine ourselves in Mary's place on that Sunday morning so long ago, but there may be times when we suddenly find ourselves in a place where it seems that we are all alone. Let's admit it -- life isn't always headed in the right direction. Whether by our own action, or simply the results of life lived, we can find ourselves in a rather lonely place. I imagine that Mary staggered out of that tomb, weeping, and not fully understanding. There are times that we are slammed by the circumstances of life and we too may find ourselves staggering and weeping; but in those moments we need to listen carefully for the Lord knows our names too. He knows each and every single one of us in a deeply personal way. He calls our name in the morning mist of life and we are beckoned to respond -- "Rabbouni!"
Mary could respond to Jesus because she knew him; she recognized his voice. This was someone who had been a follower of Jesus for a lengthy period of time and yet found herself distraught. We may too have been following Jesus for years and may too be distraught. Maybe we are overwhelmed with sickness, or loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or the waywardness of a child -- if we have been walking with Jesus, he will step up to us in the midst of our tears and gently call out to us.
In the midst of my struggles, when Jesus calls my name, I am invited to respond. Mary immediately realized who he was and left to declare that Jesus had risen from the dead. We are invited to hear his voice, but then to also take action. The God who loves us enough to reach out to us in the midst of our pain and call us by name then sends us into the world to share the good news of his love and compassion with a world that is still wandering in the morning mist.
He's calling out to you and to me right now. Will we hear him? Will we recognize his voice? Will we respond?
Lord, thank you for knowing me and calling me by name. Amen.