Hear Him Speak Your Name - John 20:11-18 (Sunrise)

 Remember with me for a moment.  Remember a time when you were alone.  There may have been other people around, but you were alone.  Maybe, if there were other people around you, you did not know any of them.  Maybe you were in a place that you hadn’t been in before.  Everything around you was unfamiliar.  You were lost.  Maybe that sense of being lost was not because of where you stood figuratively, but where your heart and mind stood.  Maybe it was fear that left you feeling alone.  You were scared because something had changed, and you did not know what that day or the next would bring.  Maybe it happened when you stood in a classroom for the first day of school.  Maybe it happened when you started a job with a new company.  Maybe it happened when your spouse was transferred and you walked in the grocery store in the new town.  Maybe…maybe…maybe…it happened standing in your living room after the folks from the funeral home have dropped you back off and other family members have gone home…or maybe it happens as you visit the cemetery a few days later...
If you can remember any of those feelings, or can grasp hold of any of those emotions…feeling the darkness that clouds your mind, or the weight of the pull against your heart…then you catch a glimpse of what Mary Magdalene was feeling that morning on the first day of the week…
She had been to the tomb…she watched Friday at twilight as Joseph and Nicodemus had laid him in the tomb.  Sabbath had ended and as fast as she could, she came back to that place.  She hadn’t been ready to see her Savior, her Lord, her friend die.  She still wasn’t ready to let go.  She wanted to be near him.  So as the sun rose, she planned to be there by the tomb…she would stay there all day if possible.  She arrived and her heart broke even more…the grave had been opened, and the body was gone.  She ran and told the disciples, Peter and John came running, and they confirmed her fears, someone had taken Jesus away.  Then the men left her…and there she was with tears flooding down her cheeks…alone once more.  Or so she thought…she peered in the tomb once more…just hoping that all of the fifty times she had looked before had been an illusion…that she would look in and see the body she so desperately wanted to cling to lying there…she wanted to see something different than what she had seen…and she did…she saw two angels sitting where she had wanted to see Jesus’ body.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  And Mary, unfazed by the fact that two angels were talking to her, said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  She was so wrapped up in her sorrow, that this miraculous event totally went past her.  She turned back out of the tomb and saw a man standing there.  He questioned her about her tears and about who she was looking for.  You can just imaging the thoughts in her head…”Will folks stop asking me what is wrong?  Don’t they know what happened here?  Why aren’t they crying?  Why aren’t they weeping?  Won’t folks just leave me alone?  That’s how I feel, that’s how I want to be.  If I can’t have Him here, I don’t want anyone here!”  But she doesn’t say any of that, out of her sorrow she cries, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
And then…and then…and then…she heard it.  It sounded like the birds singing away the night…her heart saw the sun break through the pre-dawn darkness…it was one simply word, but it was the most powerful word in the world to her.  He said, “Mary.”  Her world was changed immediately.  She knew the voice and the one whose voice she heard had spoken her name.  She still remembered when He first spoke it…she had been alone then…demons had taken over her life, she was so lost, and all of her family and friends had deserted her…but He came by, and speaking her name, called her out of the life of misery into a new life.  The change, the change that hearing that name meant for her…she was not alone, He was here…He was alive!
My friends, when those times come where we feel like Mary did that morning…when the darkness creeps in and we feel all alone…remember He knows Your name too…Listen for him to speak it…listen for it…remember that the darkness doesn’t have the final word…He has that final word…and with that final word…He will reach out His hand into the voids of your life…and speak your name…and as you hear your name…the new life that He possesses…the new life that Mary experienced…is the new life that we are given…

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!  Amen.

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