Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Mary did you know?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Mary did you know?"  In it we picture Mary who is expecting this baby and wondering whether she really understood who he was and what was coming.  Here are some of the words:

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am

I thought about that - Mary did you know - when I was spending time this morning with the resurrection text of from the gospel of John as Mary meets Jesus in the garden.  It is a different Mary - but the same question comes - did you know?  how did you know?  what did you know?  when did you know?

What I noticed in this text is that Mary came to "know" very gradually.  She came to the tomb very early to take care of a dead body.  When the stone was rolled away and ran to get the disciples saying "they" have taken the body.  After the men came and went, Mary lingered and wept.

Then she had an encounter with the angels and said the same thing - "they" had taken him.

Then she saw Jesus and he spoke to her in the garden and she still did not know who he was.  It was only when he spoke her name that she realized that the one she mourned was present.

For me, this is a very familiar text, but I read it anew today and wonder, wonder, wonder about this whole understanding of faith and the gradual and sudden realizations that come to us when suddenly we "know" that we are in the presence of God.  And we are no longer at a tomb where there is no life but in a garden. 

There is so much on this faith journey that we never fully understand.  How did Mary conceive a child by the Holy Spirit?  What happened in that tomb on Holy Saturday?  How does Mary not recognize him at first and then know it is him?  How did the men at Emmaus walk with him and not know him until the breaking of the bread.

There is so much that Margot does not know.  But I find that more and more I trust that God is found in the gardens of our lives - places of growth and life.  Not in the tombs.  And in the garden we know that there are fallow times and fertile times, times of harvest and times of planting.  There is so much to Jesus in the garden.

My deepest insight this morning, however, was that Mary was the first one to encounter the risen Christ because she lingered and wept and - unbeknownst to her - waited.

Always, always, always - there seems to be a word to me to stop, wait, linger and trust that God is here.  Look around.

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