Monday, April 5, 2010

What I’m Reading

Last night I came to the following portion in A Praying Life by Paul Miller

When [Jesus] first greets [Mary Magdalene] outside the tomb (on Easter morning), he deliberately conceals his identity; then he draws her out with a question. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15). It is classic Jesus, a genuine question mixed with a tender rebuke. She doesn’t need to cry because he is alive. Jesus stands at the edge of the story, unwilling to overwhelm her so that a richer, fuller Mary could emerge. He allows her pain to continue for just a moment so Jesus the person could meet Mary the person.

Mary responds, thinking he is the gardener, “Sir, if you had carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away” (20:15). Of course, she couldn’t “take him away” because she is too small. Her words imply that she has servants or access to people who do. She has wealth, access, and chutzpah. Luke tells us that she, along with several other women, “provided for [Jesus and the disciples] out of their means” (8:2-3). If Jesus had disclosed himself immediately, we’d never have discovered Mary, the manager. This new Adam is a gentle gardener.

Jesus announces his presence by just saying her name: “Mary,” In other words, “Mary, stop your rushing, your planning. I was always here, at the edge of the story. I am all you need.” It is so like him to identify himself so simply, so subtly. It is pure poetry.

Many of us wish God were more visible. We think that if we could see him better or know what is going on, then faith would come more easily. But if Jesus dominated the space and overwhelmed vision, we would not be able to relate to him. Everyone who had a clear-eyed vision of God in the Bible fell down as if he were dead. It’s hard to relate to pure light.

from pages 192-193

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