Walking Radnor last week, I listened to a class on "Beauty". It was the perfect accompaniment to the visuals on display at the lake.
I found that I was so consumed by what I was seeing that I sometimes lost my place listening. The tiny spots of green on the branches, the deer who had wintered successfully, reacquainting myself with the "3 Sisters" trees near the Ganier Ridge sign, the shore lines dotted with single file turtle lines, the slender bark of waking trees stretched tall. Oh Oh Oh. Delicious.
I was brought back to listening as the woman teaching in my earbuds said that Mary did not recognize Christ after the resurrection, until He spoke. It sent me to the Gospel of John to re-read the account, and study the narrative.
Mary, after being witness to the raw and extremely grim death of Christ on the cross, had come alone to the tomb, to be viscerally near what remained of Him. In the dark of the early morning, perhaps after tossing in her bed until finally getting up, she stood frozen at the sight of the stone removed from the entrance to the tomb. All of her empirical and intuitive senses were heightened, and in her complete body, soul, and spirit exhaustion she sobbed at what this likely meant.
After an eternal moment, she gathered her courage to stoop and look in. Through tears and swollen red eyes, she saw two angels at the head and foot of the evacuated grave clothes. Her senses were accurate, He was really gone.
When she turned to leave, she saw a man. The brief exchange is a mildly humorous shorthand picture of many male and female encounters. Mary is weeping, and the fully divine and yet fully man, Jesus, says, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
Mary had just had this same conversation with the two angels, (boy angels), in the tomb, whose only words to her were the exact same. It’s so curious to me that none of them seemed to know why this intimate disciple, rescued from her demons by Jesus and set on a path of purposeful flourishing, would weep at this point. She wept, because He was gone, and her eyes did not recognize He stood in front of her.
Mary was appropriate in her grief, passionate in her pursuit of Christ, but her eyes did not tell her what the ears of her heart did when then Jesus said her name, “Mary!”. And when Jesus says your name, you recognize Him.
Ironically, a few verses later, Mary gives the emotionally and descriptively truncated version to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”.
Scripture tells us that for now, we see through a glass dimly, but then face to face. It also says we must walk by faith, and not by sight, and that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. I’m a visual girl, and I sometimes get distracted by wanting to see. But when I see dimly, occasionally, and sometimes after there have been tears, the ears of my heart respond to Christ whispering my name, and I declare, “I have seen the Lord”.