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She saw the risen Lord, and He called her by name.
Today’s Image: A Seedling

This Sunday’s reflection on Easter embraces the new life we have in Jesus through the image of a seedling. Take a moment to find some example of new life in your home—a seedling, a flower, perhaps a quickly drawn picture (in case you can’t find anything)—and set this next to you as you read and reflect. This example of life at its beginning stage represents who become in response to the resurrection. In Christ, the old us passes away, making way for the new.

READ: John 20:1-18

Jesus comes to Mary in her tears. She’s not only weeping over his death, but also the tragic disappearance of his body from the now empty tomb. When Jesus speaks to her, she does not even recognize him. Mary thinks he’s a gardener. Perhaps he’s responsible for this? The suspense and sadness of the moment only builds until finally Jesus calls her by name: “Mary.” This breaks through the haze of whatever was preventing her from seeing that Jesus, her teacher and Lord, lives. He comforts her with the truth of his resurrection and sends her to be a witness of the new life that has come. 

We encounter the empty tomb after days of sorrow wherein Jesus’ followers lamented his crucifixion and their role during his final days. And yet, their sorrow turns quickly to joy. Not because their pain wasn’t real, but because the presence of the resurrected King seals their hope for the future. Jesus came for a purpose: to reconcile us back to his Father as he says, “to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” The separation between us and God is no more because of what Jesus did on the cross.

I’m struck by the moment of transformation that takes place when Jesus calls Mary by name. In the midst of her grief, he sees her and shows her he’s alive and with her. Death could not hold him, nor will it hold us. Now that she’s seen the Lord move and heard him call her by name—everything has changed, and now her new life can begin.

Easter is a celebration of our new life with God. Just as God was doing something new in the life of Mary, he will inevitably do new things in us. Right now, we may feel the pain of loss or the anxiety of the unknown. And yet, by his Spirit, he calls to us, inviting us to trust him. Whatever your symbol of “new life” was today, keep it near in worship this morning. If you have a candle you’ve been lighting, set it next to it. May Christ’s light illuminate the new life he is bringing forth in you this season.

Lord, may your light shine on us.
May the old pass away and the new arise in joy.
Thank you for new chances, new hope,
and grace that always meets us in our times of need.
Unite us with you in today’s praise of your glorious victory in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Written by
Pastor Cris
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