Walking with the Teacher

Perhaps the most joyous words Mary Magadalene ever spoke were those recorded in John 20:16: “Teacher”! Loving Jesus as she did, she had suffered much as she kept watch at the foot of the cross . She was among the final few who remained with him until he gave up his spirit. She witnessed his agonizing death pangs. She heard him cry out: “It is finished.” She watched as they laid him in his grave and sealed the tomb.

In the early morning darkness of the first day of the week, Mary returned to the grave of her beloved friend, mentor, and healer only to find it empty. In her distress, she assumed someone had stolen the body, and she ran to Simon Peter and John, his closest male friends, for help. John, who is telling us this story, reports that he went into the tomb , where “he saw and believed” that Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus had been watching at a distance as Peter and John made their astonishing discovery, probably grinning to himself as he watched his friends notice the neatly folded head cloth, and exulting at their discovery of the fact that he had really done what he’d said he would: he’d risen from the dead. John saw the evidence and believed- just like that. Having seen what he needed to see, he tells us he went home. Pragmatic. Some of the sisters among us might think, ” Now isn’t that just like a man?!”

Sensitive, expressive Mary, on the other hand,was uniquely feminine in her overtly passionate response to Jesus.She loved him with the healed heart of a woman who’d been delivered of a life of guilt, shame and public scorn, and her grief at Calvary threatened to overwhelm her. That morning she remained alone at the empty tomb with her broken heart and she wept. Even the sight of two angels in white inside the empty tomb was not enough to bring her out of her distress.In the throes of grief and despair, she was not able to see and understand. She needed a personal touch.

Jesus, because he understood the deep need of her heart, allowed his beloved Mary to come to know the truth of his resurrection in a different way. Whereas he had merely left evidence for the men to find, he came to physically meet with Mary.She who had been the last at the cross and the first at the tomb was rewarded for her loyalty and devotion to Jesus by a private and tender personal encounter. Jesus, who had not allowed Peter and John to see him , stepped out of the shadows and allowed Mary to behold him in his resurrected form and to hear his voice tenderly speak her name. It was when she heard him call her name that she believed.

Mary. He called her by her name and that was all she needed to hear. As she looked up and recognized her risen Savior standing before her ,she called out to him, using the name by which she knew him best- TEACHER! He had been her deliverer; he was now her Savior; however, the relationship that best defined the way she had related to him on a daily basis was that of student to teacher. Mary had devoted her life to walking with her Teacher. On this morning when he gave her ” a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair “( Is. 61:3),he was showing his intimate care for her by meeting with her personally and calling her by name.

Twenty five years ago I first heard Jesus calling me by name. Like Mary, I have been forgiven and given a new life. Jesus has delivered me of many fears, of guilt and of shame. I, too, want to spend my life enjoying a personal, intimate relationship with my Lord and my God. I want to spend my life as Mary did, walking with Jesus, my Teacher.

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The following lyrics were written to encourage and inspire my education students at San Diego Christian College in the Spring of 2006. (If you want to hear the song itself you can find me singing it on open mike night at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN. You can Google their website, go to the Open Mike archive and find May 21, 2006. Move the scroll bar across the bottom to about 2:30 minutes and you’ll see me singing solo in front of a giant photo of Joni Mitchell! )

WALKING WITH THE TEACHER

Little Tommy is walking alone,

Goes into his dark house and nobody’s home.

His mom is working late; his dad passed away,

There’s no one to read to him, no one to play.

There’s no one waiting there to ask about his day.

No one who’s got the time to help him find his way.

But his teacher,

He thanks God for his teacher-

Someone to look up to who’ll reach down to

Tie a shoe or wipe away a tear.

Someone to look to for a kindly word ,

In some kind of hopeful atmosphere.

It’s a teacher, thank God for his teacher.

Sara Maria is walking real fast,

There’s always a boy around, but nothing seems to last.

There’s no one home to tell that girl to slow down,

Mom’s got a boyfriend now, Dad has left town.

There’s no one home to tell her throw her drugs away,

There’s no one watching her or showing her the way,

But her teacher,

She thanks God for her teacher.

Someone to look to up to who’ll reach down to

Help her leave the pit she’s fallen in.

Someone to look to for a kindly word of hope,

of love,of inspiration ,

It’s her teacher,thank God for her teacher.

The prodigals and princesses,

And the ones who don’t belong.

The ragamuffins, the china dolls,

The broken and the strong,

They need their teachers, they all need their teachers.

There is a teacher who walks with the Lord,

Helps carries their burdens and brings them to God,

He knows the troubles that these children face,

May one day be pathways that lead to God’s grace.

He prays in silence for them all throughout the day,

When he goes home at night he kneels again and says,

“Lord, I’m their teacher,

Thank God , I’m their teacher,

Make me a servant they can look up to,

Reach down Lord and touch me with your grace,

So I can show them love that comes from you,

So I can teach them there is truth.”

Holy Spirit you’re my teacher,

Thank God I’m walking with The Teacher.

G. Bones C. 2006

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