“Whom are you looking for?”
The words of the risen Christ to Mary Magdalene echo through the centuries into my own heart. Mary’s faith was strong and her friendship with Jesus was fierce. She had learned, over years of companionship with Jesus and His disciples, how to be in deep friendship with the Lord. I’m guessing they shared inside jokes and that she knew how to make Him belly laugh. She could probably recognize His footsteps and tell when He was feeling tired. Mary knew the living Christ, and she knew Him well. She was one of the few to stand at the foot of the cross in His last hours. Even to the end, Mary was prepared to give of her deepest self to the Lord.
But then, He was gone.
Even after His death, Mary loved Jesus well. She mourned the end of their friendship on earth, anointed His battered body, and softened the earth of His tomb with her tears. She knew how to weep over the end of something truly wonderful. But when it comes to loving the risen Lord, Mary discovered she still had much to learn.
“They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”
I often find myself shoulder-to-shoulder with Mary Magdalene, searching feverishly for fulfillment of a hope that has been transformed by the Lord into something much better. Though moved by love in her searching, Mary was ultimately selling herself short. She was preoccupied with a lifeless body, more obsessed with finding Jesus as He was than opening her eyes to a whole new life with Him. She was searching for a corpse where the Lord had raised new life.
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.
I, too, sell myself short. The tears from mourning a good thing in the past cloud my vision of the present. And, in my clinging, I convince myself that the Lord is a God of the dead rather than a living king crowned with love.
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.
We must step into new seasons of life, ready to find the living Lord along the way. But first, we must learn how to do so (and trust that the Lord will teach us!) The first word that Mary says to Jesus after missing Him and mourning intensely for three days is “teacher”. After He reveals Himself to her, she recognizes her need to learn who He is anew. I can imagine that with her first word came the heartcry, “Teach me how to love you like this, Lord!” Though we are fully known by Him at all times, the mystery of knowing our Lord ever deeper will persist through all our earthly days.
So, if you find yourself stepping into a new stage of life, I invite you to let the Lord surprise you with His living love. Will you leave behind the pursuit of lifeless things, with Mary Magdalene by your side, and let your hope be transformed by His life?
Rabbouni, teach me to be in friendship with you always.
Kathryn Hurd is a senior studying strategic communications and anthropology at K-State. She's a maker, a walker, a butterfly-spotter, and a lover of a good children's book. You can read more of her words, ramblings, and random interests here.