Call Me by Name

April 21, 2019/Easter Sunday

John 20:1-18


Wasn’t it enough,

seeing his agony on the cross –

the thorny crown stabbing his brow,

the nails piercing his feet and hands,

the blood and water pouring from his side?

The pain of those hours haunts me still,

his wretched words –

“I am thirsty” –

and quenched with bitter wine,

his voice declaring to all of us who watched –

“It is finished.”

 

It is finished.

 

And so, in the darkness of early morning,

I gathered herbs and spices and oils

to anoint his body.

But this tomb was not like the one where Lazarus lay.

No one had need to command the stone be rolled aside,

for when I arrived, I found it gone.

In my sorrow at his death,

I had come to sit with him,

to be near him, though dead,

but even that had been taken from me.

No body remained,

no flesh or bone

to attest to his life.

 

Those two returned,

leaving me behind,

running as though challenging one another

to a foot race –

the one he loved arriving first,

but then Peter, the disciple who always asked the questions

we all wanted to ask,

pushed him aside and went

in.

Seeing the linens neatly folded,

he turned his gaze back to us,

and only then did the other disciple

enter

and seeing

believe.

 

But then they just turned away.

After what they had seen,

after whatever they believed,

having seen,

they returned home.

As if it were just another day,

as if he were just another man,

now dead

at the hands of the Romans.

 

My tears fell like a steady spring rain

watering the ground outside his tomb.

I, too, looked inside then,

looked to see what they had seen,

but what I saw I did not understand.

Two men in white – angels? –

seated where he had lain,

and seeing me, they wondered,

“Why are you crying?”

 

Why am I crying?

You sit in this empty tomb,

where my Lord was laid,

empty now, his body I know not where,

and you ask,

why am I crying?

And then behind me,

the voice of another –

the gardener? –

asking the same.

“Why are you crying?”

 

My heart broke, then,

and sobbing I challenged him,

“If you took him,

if you know where he is,

just tell me,

just tell me and I will take him.”

 

But that voice,

the music of that voice,

struck my ear then,

in the simple sound of my name

on his lips.

“Mary.”

Mary.

Like a sheep called by the shepherd,

I knew my Lord.

Rabbouni!

Teacher!

 

I reached for him,

reached to wrap him in my arms,

to bathe him with my tears,

tears of sorrow now become tears of joy.

But he pushed me away –

not yet, Mary –

his eyes gentle and loving but firm,

raised from the dead

but not to life as before.

Instead, to new life with

his Father and our Father,

his God and our God.

 

Now go,

he told me.

Go.

Tell the others what you have

seen.

Tell the others you have

seen

the Lord.

Go and tell.

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