Meditation 4: “You Call My Name.”

Meditation IV: “You Call My Name.”

The Rev’d Keren Terpstra

Biographical Keren is the Priest in Charge at All Saints’ Booval. Her first calling is composition, and she has always delighted in playing the organ and singing in choirs. The love of Keren’s life is her feline companion Gabrielle, though she doubts whether she is the love of Gabby’s life!
Suggested Music Thomas Tallis  Dum Transisset
Bible reading

Bible Reading: John 20:9-18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Exercise for relaxation and focus.

Exercise: Drawn from Anthony de Mello S.J. Sadhana A Way to God, (pp.7-8)


Take up a posture that is comfortable and restful…

Close your eyes…

I am going to ask you to become aware of some sensations in your body that you are feeling at this moment, but that you have not called into awareness…

Become aware of the touch of the clothes on your back… or of your back touching the chair you are sitting on’ touching the floor if lying down…

Now be aware of the feel of your hands as they touch each other as they rest on your lap…

Now become aware of the clothes touching different areas of your skin: the clothes on your arms and legs;  the soles of your feet as they touch the inner part of your shoes.

Once again be conscious of these sensations of being touched by your clothes, the chair/floor: in your shoulders, back, your right hand, your left hand, your right/left arm, right/left leg, the soles of your feet.

Once again, your shoulders, back, hands, arms, legs, soles of your feet…

And again, your shoulders, back, hands, arms, legs, soles of your feet…

Continue to go round by yourself now, moving from one part of your body to another.  Do not dwell for more than a couple of seconds on each part.

You may dwell on the parts of the body I have indicated or on any other parts you wish; chest, stomach, neck.  The important thing is that you get the feel , the sensation, of each part; that you feel it for a second ot two, and then move on to another part of your body.

After ten minutes of doing this, I will ask you to open your eyes.

Personal story The story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb on that first Easter morning has always resonated deeply with me. It was the story during which God touched my heart and I knew for the first time I am loved by God – like the sun reaching through heavy grey clouds to illumine a barren tree. In that moment, I was Mary, called by name by the Risen One resplendent in light. Since that time I have wrestled with the common translation of the words “Do not touch me”, which is more accurately rendered, “Do not keep holding onto me!” And I have been deeply troubled by the words spoken in my soul about carrying a message to the “brothers” who would not listen to the words of a woman or believe what she said. Mary for me embodies and frames the ambiguity of God’s call in my life. On the one hand, apostola apostolorum, Apostle to the apostles. On the other hand, discredited through history and tradition as an unsavoury woman, a whore, a sinner. God has called me to be a priest, in the gratitude of which I live every day. And yet it seems to me that we are still a long way from true mutuality in ministry. To be a woman and a priest is still to be Mary of Magdala, a symbol of the disruption of the incarnation, God’s turning the world upside down in the person of Jesus Christ – and indeed to embody him again in presidency at the Eucharist.Mary is also a figure of strength. She wants to keep holding onto the Risen Jesus. The picture I chose above reframes the story. For what Mary learnt was about standing firm in her calling to be a symbol of the new order of things. About learning not to cling to the black and white of absolute exclusive certainty, but to celebrate and rejoice in the creative, liminal space of what it means to be called by God to carry the message of good news as a woman.

Mary’s are big shoes to fill, and I doubt I do her or them justice in my living of God’s call in my life. It is so easy to slip back into the old patterns, to cling to the past. So Mary stands as a reminder to me to redirect the urge to cling to the past by living the calling with which I have been called, to be a priest, creatively caring for God’s people, and dancing with them in hope until the community of God’s presence is realised.

Silence 5 minutes
Guided reflection (1)How do I hear God calling my name?(2) How does God appear to me?(3) What do I cling to?

(4) Where is God’s calling in me?

(5) What do I need to let go of to follow that call?

  Music James Macmillan Christus Vincit

Postscript I want to recognise my colleague and friend the Rev’d Gillian Moses for sparking some of my ideas in her erudite thesis which deals with images of Mary Magdalene.

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