Grace Notes in the Desert

Grace Notes in the Desert is written for the saints of Rio Grande Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community.

My Photo

Grace Notes acknowledges we need God's grace and forgivness as much as the desert water.


He Calls Your Name

He comes to us hidden and salvation consists in our recognizing him.” –Simone Weil, Waiting on God

She does not recognize him. Jesus, her teacher and her Lord, is a stranger to her. But can we blame her for this failure? She is lost…lost in her grief and blinded by her tears. Her despair is so deep that she does not even pay much heed to the angels who are there, and simply replies to them by mumbling an excuse for her weeping. Her world is now too small to admit the presence of angels. There is no more wonder. There is no more joy. There is only death.

Her eyes, and her heart, are shut. In sorrow she turns around to leave, and Jesus is there. But she does not recognize him. Did he frighten her? Is she scared? Does he seem dangerous? She does not recognize him; she does not expect to see him standing there. Of course, he must be the gardener.

And even when he talks to her, asks her questions…”Why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”…she does not realize that it is her Lord. It is not possible. She does not recognize him. But Jesus…Jesus recognizes her. “Mary,” he says. He knows her, and he calls her by her name. “Mary”.

And in that moment, that instant, everything is changed! She is known, and in being known, being fully known by him, her eyes are opened. She can now see, and a new world is opened up before her. A world of light, of beauty, of resurrection. A world with love, a place of fantastic possibilities, is born.

The tomb of death has become the womb of life. He is risen! He knows her and he calls her by her name, and everything is changed!

“Mary,” he says. And she turns to him, and sees him. And in that turning of her heart and soul to him, her broken heart and her wounded soul are healed. She, too, has now been resurrected!

“Mary,” he says. He calls her name – he calls her out of her despair and back into life…real life, abundant life…Listen. Listen with your heart wide-open. Be still, and listen closely. He is calling your name.

--Brother Bruce Neal, Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, MA (used with his permission)