Tuesday, April 02, 2013

April 2, 2013 – By Name

Episcopal Rector Gary Jones, a fellow cancer survivor, writes of a recent visit to his oncologist’s office that revealed to him a little bit of Easter.

Gary hadn’t been to the office for some time, and looked quite a bit different from when he had been going there regularly for his chemo treatments. His hair had come back, for one, but he also knew he looked and felt stronger and more fit.

He heard a nurse in an adjoining room call out his name, as the next patient to be seen.  “Gary Jones,” she said, in a deadpan, professional tone. But then, she recognized the name. “GARY JONES!” she cried, with laughter in her voice, and came running out to greet him with a smile.

Let’s have Gary continue the story himself:

“At first, she didn't recognize me, because she had never seen me with hair.  And besides, I had started weeping when I heard her calling my name.  I don’t know what happened to me; I just couldn’t help it.

But I recognized her.  She had cared for me for months.  She was my sister, my mother, my friend, my priest.  In the way that Jesus intended us to be for each other, I realized that she was my Lord, whom I recognized when she called my name.

Ubi caritas, Deus ibi est.  ‘Where there is love, God is there.’”

What a blessing it is to be recognized. And what a further blessing it is to be recognized by name! We honor one another when we welcome one another by name.

As Jesus honored Mary Magdalene, that Resurrection Day. And as he honors us, still.

Happy Easter Season!

(Gary is Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia.)

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