By: Katie Heller
A few years ago I was in a place spiritually where I felt like God was distant from me. The sound of His voice in my life faded and I felt abandoned. I lost my joy. I was desperate for a sign or a hint that God was still near and that He knew me by name.
In the holy days leading up to Easter that year, I made a commitment to intentionally pray the daily Scripture readings. As the days went on, and as I read the same passages I’ve read many times, something began stirring in me. The words of Scripture began piecing my heart like they never have before.
On Easter Sunday, I stood and listened intently to the Gospel message recounting Mary Magdalene finding the tomb of Jesus empty and her desperation to know who took His body. In a swift moment, the proclamation of a simple, almost throw-away phrase changed everything for me:
“Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
With those words, the double edge sword of Scripture thrust its final blow, slicing though my heart of stone, bringing not death, but a heart fully alive in Christ. For a split second, I was Mary. I felt what it must have been like for Mary to hear her name spoken from the mouth of Christ--His tender tone of love transforming her desperation into relief and joy. Nothing was the same for Mary after that moment, and nothing was the same for me either. I was overwhelmed with tears of joy, and for the first time in many, many months, I knew God was near. And, I heard God speak my name.
I share this because I believe God has something to say to each of us this Easter season, even something unexpected. It's interesting, isn't it, that we can hear or read the same Scripture verses over and over again, but somehow, due to our life circumstances, they can take on different meanings. St. Paul tells us that God’s Word is alive and active and it is constantly at work on our hearts.
As we approach Easter this year, I challenge you to open your heart and mind to what He wants to show you in Scripture—even the most insignificant detail is a path to God’s heart. What do you see? What do you hear? Who are the characters? What are they saying? Do you identify with any of them or their actions? Who? Why? Did you notice something or someone you haven’t before?
I believe that if we approach the empty tomb of Christ with our eyes and hearts fixed on the Word of God, we will recognize Christ, like Mary Magdalene, in simple, yet life changing ways this Easter.
So, as you prepare for the highest holy day of our Christian life, this is my prayer for you: That the Word of God would come alive anew in your heart, and that through the power of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ you would be transformed by the love of our Father who would stop at nothing, not even the death of His own Son, to prove how much He loves you.
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