It’s hard to imagine that we’re already coming up to April, isn’t it? We’re just a few short days away from celebrating Easter Sunday together. I remember getting an Easter bonnet when I was growing up that matched my dress for the occasion. We’d get together with family for a big meal, go for a hike, and enjoy the time with our church family in worship together. But we can’t get to Easter Sunday without Good Friday, a time of great mourning and grief.
When I did my level 1 of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), we had to read a book about images for Jesus. There were several images that I related with, and one of those was the image of Jesus as a midwife. Midwife means “with woman.” Midwives were with the woman during pregnancy, birth, and after delivery. Midwives would provide pastoral care for the woman during the pregnancy, offering care when the labor got painful. The midwife would ask the mother to name the child upon delivery. Quite like the formula, “Lazarus, come forth!” the midwife would call the baby, and the baby would stop struggling and live.
After Jesus was resurrected, he appeared before Mary in the garden. She had mistaken him as a gardener. Even though she was in the presence of the very one she mourned, she didn’t recognize it was Jesus until he called her by name. What is it about hearing a familiar voice or our name being spoken out loud by someone else that feels so comforting? Jesus said, “Mary,” and she responded with a phrase that means “my dearest teacher.” How wonderful this image is for us to see someone so comforted in so much grief.
As we think about what it means to be Easter people, perhaps we can also hear Jesus gently calling us by our name, calling us forth to stop struggling and live. And Easter isn’t just this one day, this year on Sunday, April 17th, but all year. As Jesus calls us by name, how are we calling out the names of others, bringing life to those who feel lonely and forgotten? After all, Easter isn’t just a day to be celebrated one day a year, but each and every day.
May you put your own name into this sentence, hearing Jesus’ still small voice: “____________, come forth and live!”
Blessings and peace be with you, Pastor Kristina