“Mary,” the gardener speaks. And the whole earth becomes quiet, completely still, because Mary recognizes that voice. She recognizes the way Jesus says her name.
—From Ch. 37 (“The Gardener”), Jesus Journey
There is a practice in Ignatian spirituality that is helping me to encounter the Jesus of the gospels afresh. In days of old, it was used to bring the scriptures alive to the illiterate, but in these last few months it has brought the wonder of the God-man Jesus alive in my heart again.
If you would like to try, here's how it works:
- First, read a gospel story over and over until it becomes familiar to you (in the past, people would have had it read aloud to them).
- Second, close your eyes and imagine the scene in your mind.
- Third, begin to ask yourself questions, and engage with Jesus in the scene (e.g. What do you see? How do you feel? Do you have a role in the scene? What does Jesus look like? What’s the tone of His voice?).
Trent describes the interaction between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in John 20:15-16 as “tender.” As we say in England, “hats off to you”, my friend—I cannot think of a better word!
You see, in these last few months of reading the gospels ‘Ignatian style’, I have lost count of the number of times that I heard Jesus say my name. The tone of His voice has varied according to the moment, always so personal, fitting, and timely—always so unmistakably Jesus. In moments that are deeply humbling and empowering all at once, I, like Mary, am learning to recognise the way He says my name.
I love that this tender moment between Mary and Jesus in “the third garden in the story of God” (as Trent puts it) is with the resurrected Jesus. It tells me that hearing wonderful, beautiful Jesus say your name isn’t an experience reserved only for the disciples who walked with Jesus on earth in the first century; no, the utterance of her name that Mary recognised that day came from resurrected lips! And that changes everything for you and me!
Take a moment today, quiet your heart, and hear the way He says your name.
Today’s guest post is by Danutia Banwell: Danutia and her husband Chris often pinch themselves at the privilege of living in the beautiful county of Cornwall in the south west of England. This stunning Celtic land is well worth a visit (just bear in mind that Cornish folk will beg to differ about it being part of England!). Danutia and Chris help to lead a church family in their hometown of Falmouth (www.falmouthlightandlife.co.uk), whose dream it is to see their community transformed by the life and love of Jesus.
Photo credits: "fig tree"—Bill Pekrul / "sunset" & "blossoms"—Chelsea Hudson