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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Jesus calls us all by name, too

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson

One of the great miracles of the Easter story is one that is often overlooked. The earthquakes, the angels, the stone rolled away: They are all powerful and miraculous. Jesus’ resurrection is by far the central part of the story, where death is destroyed forever by life and love. It is a great show of God’s grace on that Easter morning, and one that we all get to participate in. These are all miracles, and they are all things that take center stage in our Easter story.

Josh Enderson

However, there is another miracle that we often overlook in this story, and it comes in John 20:14-16: “When Mary had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means teacher).”

This is the miracle of Mary being called by her name. This is the miracle of Mary being seen and recognized as a child of God and being called by her Good Shepherd. Notice in this story that she turns twice, once at the beginning when she thinks that Jesus is the gardener, and again when Jesus says her name. The miracle of the resurrected Lord calling her name turns her heart, turns her around when he calls her name. And, even in the midst of her grief she can see that Jesus, her Lord and teacher, is standing before her.

Jesus comes to us each and every day, in our pain and joys, and calls our name too. He calls us and invites us to turn towards him, to turn from those things that try and overwhelm us. He reminds us that there is hope and life, and that, in him, we are not our pain, but we have a name. Our pains and sufferings try and overtake us. They try and define us and take away our names. They try to become our identities. But, just like Mary, Jesus comes to us and calls out our name and reminds us of who we truly are. We are children of God, known by name by Jesus. Listen, the resurrected Lord is calling each and every one of us.

Josh Enderson is pastor of Hayward-Trondhjem Lutheran churches, ELCA,