“What a joy to be fully known and fully loved at the same time! Henri Nouwen”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 25, 2023
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). John 20:16, NKJV
Isn’t it so affirming for someone to look you in the eyes with a kind face and say your name? Maybe it means more to me since I have a unique southern name. It’s not unusual for me to be called Lloyd, Floyd, or Boy (reminds me of the young man in The Jungle Book, ha!). We once had a neighbor years ago to whom I must have reminded of someone named “Wade,” as that was the name I learned to respond to after several attempts to correct him. Your name is the starting point of feeling known and loved. When another only sees you as a means to an end, as a transaction, or, at worse, completely ignores you…insecurities, fear, and distrust can cripple the relationship. When you are understood and cared for, you cherish this safe place in the gift of being known.
Jesus gave Mary Magdalene the gift of not only being known but also the reassurance of making Himself known. You remember the story as Mary, out of love for her Lord, came to Jesus’ tomb before sunrise, unable to find His body. Two angels seek to comfort her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” they ask. Before she had time to answer, a man approached her who Mary thought was the gardener. He asked her the same question as the angels had asked and added another, “Whom are you seeking?” Then Jesus tenderly spoke her name, “Mary.” When Jesus spoke her name, she turned to Him, gazing into those loving eyes, and exclaimed back, “Teacher.” Perhaps she remembered Jesus’ prior teaching of His resurrection, and now it had come to pass. In the process of being known by Jesus…she was able to know her risen Lord.
All people have a tear in their heart. A hardened heart or a person in denial may argue against any apparent sadness in his or her life, but the reality is we live in a broken, fallen world, and the shrapnel of sin has wounded every human being. Pain is a reality we all experience until, by God’s grace and faith in Jesus, we graduate to our heavenly home. You may have been hurt by someone who is hurting; instead of requiring a response that meets your standard for forgiveness, consider getting to know the other hurting soul. Your vulnerability to make yourself known can create a safe place for other weary ones to exhale and share their fears and insecurities. Learn a person’s name and then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in how to learn about the person behind the name. Healthy or unhealthy parents. Physical challenges. Emotional pain. Relational wounds. And, of course, discover and affirm with others moments they are most proud of and celebrate.
Most of all, aspire toward knowing and being known by the Father, Son, and Spirit. Lean into your heavenly Father’s love and wisdom, learn from Jesus a gentle and meek spirit, and look to the Holy Spirit as your guide and comforter. Henri Nouwen captures the essence of Jesus and Mary engaging on the high level of knowing and being known, “Mary feels at once fully known and fully loved. The division between what she feels safe to show and what she does not dare to reveal no longer exists. She is fully seen, and she knows that the eyes that see her are the eyes of forgiveness, mercy, love, and unconditional acceptance…What a joy to be fully known and fully loved at the same time! It is the joy of belonging through Jesus to God and being fully safe and fully free.” As Nouwen says, what a joy to be fully known and fully loved at the same time!
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).
Heavenly Father, thank you for knowing my name and making yourself known through your son Jesus, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name.
Consider learning the names of one of your neighbors you don’t know and their children’s names.
Tauren Wells: Known
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