Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's in a name?

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 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”).
 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. ~ John 20:11-18

Mary arrives at the tomb emotionally and physically exhausted. She has arrived expecting to see the dead body of someone she loves, instead she is convinced that someone has stolen his corpse. Even with Jesus standing in front of her she is not open to his presence because it does not fit with what she is looking for.

When God does something totally out of the box (out of the tomb?) I'm good at missing it too. There He is standing in front of me, but because he doesn't like like I imagine him too, I ignore him. I have my own set of filters for how God behaves. When God does something that doesn't fit within my 'spiritually approved prejudices' I am quick to discount it.
It takes Jesus speaking her name before Mary realizes who is talking to her.

I find her response of 'Rabboni' interesting. How we address people is indicative of how we perceive our relationship to them. I'm curious why Mary's instant response is to turn and shout Teacher, why did she not say Jesus?

There are many possible words that I use to address Jesus. Savior, Friend, Brother, Lord, Healer, Teacher, Lover, Creator. Some labels I use more than others. When I read this passage this morning the word that came to mind was Judge.

I don't like that.

In the back of my mind I apparently still imagine Jesus watching and judging every action and thought. It's a great way to feel guilty all the time. Somehow in my youth I falsely learned that a good christian should feel permanently guilty. I've done a lot of dismantling of that false teaching over the years, but having the word Judge come unbidden to my mind while I meditated on this passage today shows that I still have work to do.

What unexpected people have called you by name this week? 

How is Jesus in that person and encounter?
What words and names do you use to address Jesus? 

What do they reveal about your relationship? 

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