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Mary Remembers: A Poem For Easter

Photo courtesy of Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Art4TheGlryOfGod by Sharon via Flickr

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she did not recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?’”Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where he is and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out “Rabboni!” John 20:14-16

It was in the garden, near the tomb, where I was the first to see him risen.

But I did not recognize him

I had been weeping

The tears blurring my eyes, my memories, my hope

And so I did not recognize him.

I didn’t know who he was because

I was overcome with grief

My heart was somewhere else

Remembering the first time that I saw him.

It was in another garden.

He looked like any other man

But there was something in the way he moved

A rhythm that you could feel when you were near him

A weaving together of things that did not make sense

He was so meek, so deeply gentle, and yet his presence was fierce.

You feared him, were overwhelmed by him, yet  you were drawn to him, like fire.

He was so beautiful that it hurt to look at him, like love.

He called out my name before I even told him what it was.


And when the name came from his lips

It was as if I heard it for the first time

As if he was calling it out on the day I was born

Before my wounds

And my sadness

And my harlotry.

Before my name had been spoken on dozens of men’s lips

Who loved themselves in my presence

But never loved me.

He spoke my name for the first time

And the name fell from his lips

Like the waters covering the seas.

And I knew …

I knew that the name he really meant was


“Do you know me?” I asked.

“Yes Mary, I have always known you,” he answered.

From then on, I didn’t leave his side

All I wanted to do was be near him

For he saw me  lovely

And he called me beloved

Slowly, in his presence,

I was remembering who I was

Who I was always meant to be.

When others looked to him as the future king

Who would rescue them from their slavery and make them powerful

I saw him and knew

That he had already rescued me from my slavery.

I didn’t need anything more than that.

I wanted to give him something back. Something precious

Not just a physical outward thing

But  something that resided in my heart

I wanted to show him that I believed

Not what the world said about me

But what he said about me

I chose the night Jesus ate at the Pharisee’s house

I burst through the door with no invitation,

As I knew I would never be welcome

In a place such as this.

But I had to come

I had to see him.

Just as I  suspected, as soon as I came through the door,

They called me harlot, sinner

But I didn’t even hear their words

Because my Jesus was there.

And all I could hear

Was his voice calling my name

Just as he did on the day that we met.

I held the gift I had, the flask  of oil, before him

I said “I am broken, I have so little to give to you.”

He said

“Vessels must be broken to pour out an offering.”

So in my brokenness made beautiful

I broke the alabaster jar

I poured out the oil,

I kissed his feet

I covered him with tears.

As I did this, the Pharisees whispered

“If he was a prophet he would know that she is a whore.”

He stood up and looked at them. Steadily, but with indignation, he said

“Her name is not whore.

Her name is not worthless or wretched or broken,

as so many people have called her.

Her name is Mary.”

He stood me up and looked me in the eyes.

He said “You have been forgiven much.

That’s why you love so much.

Your sins have been forgiven.”

I didn’t deserve this kind of love.

But I knew that he didn’t care if I deserved it or not

He wanted to give it to me.

He said something to them about how

When the good news was told

My story would be told as well

As a remembrance.

What could he have meant?

On the day Jesus died, one of the disciples told me

That he had washed each of their feet the night before.

Imagine the most powerful man on earth

Bending low

Making himself a servant

Showing that power is not found

In bloodied battles and kingdoms conquered.

It is found in a quiet strength

That pours out forgiveness when forgiveness is not deserved.

Demonstrating that love is a better way.

I couldn’t help but wonder

If he thought of me when he washed their feet.

If my gift had made an impression on him.

If this was somehow a remembrance of what I had done.

I pondered all of these things as I stood here,

In the garden near the tomb

But now my Savior, my Beloved, my Hope

Had been nailed to a cross three days before.

All that I had left was the memory of this beautiful man

All that I could do was to mourn him well.

So I brought the oil again.

Another flask, another offering.

And in my grief, I did not recognize the man in the garden, asking why I was weeping …

Until he said my name.


And my eyes were opened.

This was Jesus

Risen from the dead.

He could have chosen anyone to reveal his resurrection to.

He could have chosen a man, for this was a man’s world

He could have chosen a king, for he could tell the world of Jesus’ power

He could have chosen a religious leader, for that is what everyone expected

But he chose me.

The poor whore

That he called beautiful

Who had been forgiven so much

So very much

That she had learned how to love.

He chose me to remind the world

That he reveals mysteries

And lavishes love

On the ones that have been called

Broken, sinner, worthless.

He calls us by our real name.

The same is true for all of us.

The infinite became flesh

He died

He rose again

All so that we could remember who we are

All so he can look past our sin

And call us Beautiful.

About Kate Hurley

Kate Hurley is a singer songwriter, teacher, and writer. She has played and taught everywhere from German castles to Indian slums to 20,000 people hippie gatherings. She writes for the popular blog The Sexy Celibate ( and is the author of the book "Cupid Is a Procrastinator: Making Sense of the Unexpected Single Life" Which you can buy on Amazon. She also works with the poor and marginalized under Beta Communities, a missional community, and runs Mercy Projects, a non-profit, with which she makes projects to raise funds for charities that work with children.
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