I have seen the Lord!

I can’t believe I am back on my neglected blog, writing anything other than sermons and services on Holy Week! Holy Week for pastors spells s-w-a-m-p-e-d and it has certainly lived up to that this 2019 year. But as I set an intention on gratitude today in a last-ditch effort to deflect some of the anxiety about Easter’s logistics (and also as I sermon write for Easter Sunday), I found myself stepping back 10 years into time.

As I read John’s Gospel story, I am captivated by Mary. How she came to weep over Jesus’ death at his tomb and how she was the first one to see the Resurrected Jesus. She needed Jesus to say her name so that she would know who he was; that means she knew him, she knew his voice, she knew how he said her name. She was commissioned by Jesus to go and tell. And gee, did she ever! We have the Gospel story because of her. She went and said, “I have seen the Lord!”

“I have seen the Lord.”

“I have seen the Lord.”

What an honor to be the first human commissioned with the Gospel.

As I am reflecting on this for Holy Week, the gratitude that captured me was gratitude for all of the women in my life who have shouted “I have seen the Lord!” over and over and over until I believed that this Good News was for me too. They have been witnesses of this Love that was made flesh in the form of Jesus.

From my mom, to my grandmothers and aunts, in my raising who introduced me to God’s love. To writers like Anne Lamott and most especially Rachel Held Evans who kept saying, I think the Gospel is more expansive and inclusive than we think it is. To my pastors who said this is what “I have seen the Lord!” looks like for a woman in ministry. To my Divinity School professors who taught me that being commissioned with the good news means that “you cannot be a poster child of the status quo.”1 To so many women who have changed me because they have taught me the unforced rhythms of grace when I was so burnt out with the Church. To the women who have loved me deeply and said, “remember who you are; you are named beloved and you are a woman made in the image of God.”

For me, it will always be a woman who says on Easter’s Sunday:

“I have seen the Lord.”


  1. Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes

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