I Have Seen the Lord! Mary Meets Jesus in the Garden


Seven days. Seven stories. Seven revealings of Jesus to seven sets of people after his resurrection. Seven conversions of the heart. Seven signs and wonders to help us fix our eyes on Jesus as we begin the season of Eastertide.

Over the next seven days, together we will begin the fifty day celebration that is Eastertide in the Awakening Calendar.

The prayer on our lips is the ancient declaration, “Jesus is Lord!” Our attention is on what it means to be the People of the Resurrection—those whom Christ has invited into a fullness of new life in the present and an eternity of everlasting life in his presence on the other side of death.

We will take these seven days to celebrate seven stories of Easter that continue to shine light on what happened that first Easter, that first great awakening, in the days following the birth, life, ministry, arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial, . . . and resurrection of Jesus.

Together, let’s begin.


Praise be to you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In your great mercy you have given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! (1 Pet. 1:3)

I receive your Holy Spirit, the resurrection-Spirit of life within me, and I attune myself to your work of awakening hearts, including my own, to experience your transforming love.

In Jesus’s name I come, amen.

John 20:1–2, 11, 14–18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. . . . She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.


What’s in a name? Everything. Our name, spoken by the one who gave it, and who loves us, means we have been seen, known, cherished.


Can we imagine Mary Magdalene, bent over and weeping, hot tears flowing and guttural sobs piercing the quiet in the lonely garden where she grieves?

Her unbridled sorrow has surged once again to the surface, her compounded losses eclipse any residual memory of her sweet deliverance, her uncontainable laughter with her new brothers and sisters, her irresistible desire to worship—all experienced because of, and in the presence of, Jesus.

Many of us know what it is like to lose our memory of all things good and right and lovely and beautiful that the Lord has done in the past as the current struggle, that unshakeable struggle, presses down on us once again.

All wonder and delight we have have known before is pushed into the shadows of forgetfulness by a season of sickening sorrow we are sure will take our very lives.

I have been there. You have been there. We have all been there. Mary has been there.

You may be there now.

Then, bent and broken, as the shadows fall and we are cloaked in a darkness thicker and more suffocating than we could have ever imagined, a word pierces the clutching silence.


It was her name.

And, hearing her name, in that instant . . .

Sorrow met Sign.

Silence met Her Name, Known, Beloved, Spoken.

Death met Resurrection (and it didn’t have a chance).

And just like that, and just like us, Mary sees.

Her red and swollen eyes abruptly open.

She sees the Lord. She sees her Rabboni, her Teacher, in the full morning light.

She sees the Lover of Her Soul and the Master of Her Days and Nights on Earth.

She is the first, the very first disciple, to see the risen Jesus.

But she was first seen by him.

That’s what’s in a name when our Creator speaks it.

Mary is seen, and she sees. Isn’t that the way it works?

“I have seen the Lord!” are the five apostolic words she delivers to the disciples.

Those five words will never be taken from her. They are her words, and we commemorate them this first of days in the Easter season of this year.

And we can, somehow, claim those words as our own.

This Easter, like that first Easter, the Lord speaks your name and mine. His voice pierces the sadness, the confusion, the sheer disappointment with God, with others, with yourself—with a tender reminder that you belong to him, are loved by him, are forgiven by him, and will make it through all things with him as he works them together for your good. (Rom. 8:28)

He speaks your name, just as he spoke Mary’s name, just as he spoke Lazarus’s name, just as he speaks the name of every child who returns to him for life, for love, for hope and healing and salvation—and resurrection.

With resurrection life pouring from him, he speaks your name.

Welcome [insert your name here], to the Resurrection Life. It’s a life where old things are made new, dead hearts are brought back to life, hope flourishes and despair fades—and today, this day, he speaks your name as if to say, “Your inheritance awaits.”


Risen Lord of the Garden-Where-We-Are-Seen, we lift our eyes to you as this Easter season begins. You speak our name as we walk forward, with you, through the troubles you said we would experience in this world. Your resurrection life is our inheritance, and we open ourselves to receive it as you reveal yourself to us. In Jesus’s name, amen.


What trial are you facing right now, that seems too much to bear? Do you hear the Lord speaking your name within it, inviting you to the new life that is your inheritance in him?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this reminder that as we live out our lives of faith, that it should be a response to what God has already done for us in Christ Jesus.

  2. I have encountered the Lord. Now the risen Jesus interacts with me heart-to-heart.

    I wake up in the morning with encouraging words running through my mind and heart. Then I get up and write them down.

    Throughout the day hope-filled thoughts come to me and make me aware of Christ’s reality. I delight to bask in them and to savor His presence.

    When I read the Bible, the words come alive. They cause me to feel that Jesus is real and with me in the moment.

    Sometimes Jesus corrects me. Sometimes He directs me. Sometimes I even sense Him calling my name and saying that He loves me. He releases rivers of living water that flow out my heart and fill me with the fruit of His Spirit.

    This morning I awakened with this poem flowing from within me:

    The risen Jesus
    Isn’t stuck far away
    Back in history
    Or in some future day.
    He promised to be
    With His people always
    So He can now
    Live inside of you
    And give you victory
    Throughout each day
    As “Christ in you,
    The hope of glory.”

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