but on the off chance that it is a child calling....I answer. "Hello! (sigh....listen....listen) No, thank you. We're not interested." Disgustedly, I return to the dinner table. This pattern happens so often one would think that we'd stop falling for the ring. But....it may be a loved one whose voice we want to hear, a voice we know and recognize. We want to hear that voice of recognition.
Flight 370 has bothered me in the deep, deep recesses of my heart and mind. How could a huge plane just vanish? Where could it be? How could this happen? Also, with the world seemingly at our doorstep via technology I'm overwhelmed at how large and vast and hidden places on the earth remain. I think of the moms and dads, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives who just want to hear a voice, to know an answer, to answer a phone and hear a precious voice. But to look and not find....to search and be void....to not know and be known. It is truly heartbreaking and I cannot even began to imagine the pain and grief.
Henri Nouwen in, Returning, God's Love Calls Us Home, shared in a Lent writing today of a familiar story. But it struck me in new place. It's a story of seeking in grief but finding. A story of looking for a voice who knows and recognizes me and you.
11 and by that time Mary had returned to the tomb and was standing outside crying. And as she wept, she stooped and looked in and saw two white-robed angels sitting at the head and foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.
13 “Why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She glanced over her shoulder and saw someone standing behind her. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him!
15 “Why are you crying?” he asked her. “Whom are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned toward him.
“Master!” she exclaimed.
First, one word, 'Mary', is all He spoke. But she knew the voice, she recognized the love and acceptance. And she knew the voice KNEW her....all of her....and loved her the same perhaps even more. Oh, that we could turn around today and hear our Lord say our name out loud. That one word for each of us. One word that says, yes, I know your name, your whole name, I know where you are in the world, I have come for you, I have found you, I am here, I adore you just as you are in your pain, in your sorrow and in your joy and laughter. 'Mary!', He said. And she exclaimed, 'Master'. Oh, to know His voice and be known.
Secondly, He was in plain view. 'She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.' He was standing there in plain view but not as she had expected. Oh how many times do I look past Jesus standing right in front of me. I look for the familiar Jesus, the One I'm used to seeing, the One I'm comfortable with but alas, He will always be right in plain view looking differently than what I expect...to grow me, to show me His unconditional love and acceptance of all of us.
There are so many who do not yet know His voice, who don't recognize the sweet sound of Him saying their name. I daresay that many of the people connected to Flight 370 are from places in the world who have not heard of this News. And perhaps many in North America have heard and re-heard but may have now stopped hearing. I know the church universal has failed many people and perhaps has damaged many hearts. I also know the church is made up of imperfect people seeking to know and be known. So when I can look past the church building itself and see the Word it is founded on I can know of a Master who knows me by name. And I can know He is standing in plain view.