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Province Chaplain Mthr. Terri Bays' Eastertide Thoughts

Eastertide Invites Questions

When I was in high school, clubs would engage in a kind of hazing known as the “Come As You Are” breakfast. In collusion with the parents of the initiate, a group of older kids would arrive at her house before her usual wake-up time and drag her off to breakfast somewhere, in her pajamas and without the benefit of cosmetics or even a hairbrush. This was bonding through collective trauma!

When I read of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the Resurrected Jesus in the garden, I am reminded of those breakfasts. Mary mistakes Jesus for a gardener, not because he’s carrying tools, but because she’s trying not to look directly at the scantily clad man before her. She knows that groundskeepers’ servants strip down to do their hot and dirty work, so she averts her eyes.

Jesus, for his part, has resurrected in a cave with nothing to wear but the burial cloths in which his friends had wound him. We know he left at least some of the linen wrappings in the tomb, so I imagine him having grabbed something to wrap around himself, but not enough to fully satisfy the demands of 1st century modesty. Jesus appears to Mary “as he is,” but she does not recognize him.

Eastertide is about resurrection. Both Jesus’ resurrection and our own (anticipated) resurrection are about following in the way where Jesus has led by overcoming death and emerging as our own true selves. Because we often hide our true selves in order to blend in with the world around us, we may find, like Jesus, that even our closest friends fail to recognize us as we first emerge.

Jesus does not leave us in ignorance, however. When Jesus calls Mary’s name, she knows him by his voice. When Jesus breaks bread in Emmaus, Cleopas and Luke know him by his blessing and giving. When Jesus invites the disciples to touch his hands and his feet, they know him by his wounds. When Jesus stands on the beach, Peter knows him by the massive catch of fish.

This Eastertide, I invite you to reflect on two questions. The first: how do you know Jesus when you encounter him? Even when you are going about the work of making a living, or cowering in fear, or going on a journey or even just staring at the ground, Jesus is there. How does Jesus make himself known to you? In what new ways might you seek him?

The second: how might you make your own true self better known to those who are nearest and dearest to you? Our God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, has seen us as we are, as the beloved person we each were created to be. Making our true selves known to others, as Jesus made himself known to his disciples, is a way of loving those others as we love ourselves. Do people know your true self by your prayer, by your giving, by your touch, by your instruction? May Jesus bless you as you emerge.

The Rev. Cn. Terri Bays, Chaplain

Daughters of the King

Province V

Mother Terri's Eastertide Article
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