I went to my parents church on Easter Sunday. Their senior minister, Dr. David Baker, preached about John 20: 1-18 (Mary and two disciples come to Jesus' empty tomb) which is the same scripture I mentioned in my blog earlier this week. Love that their church uses the lectionary as well!
One of the things I enjoy about being a part of bible discussion group AND a church that discusses Scripture according to the lectionary - is that I spend time thinking about that particular scripture for most of the week and then get to hear someone else's perspective on Sunday!! And I especially love it when they teach something that I hadn't noticed or thought of before.
I did notice in last weeks passage is that when the two disciples get to the to tomb they looked around and then left immediately. We talked about why they might have left in my Bible discussion...
But what I didn't particularly notice is that after Mary gets to the tomb - she lingers. Sure she stays behind but I hadn't thought about it as lingering. And because she lingers she actually got to see Jesus again. She thinks he is the gardner at first. Maybe he was near the tomb all along and she didn't notice. But then he calls out her name. Christ shows himself to Mary.
Maybe he showed himself because she lingered...
After Dr. Baker shared this perspective - he asked the congregation - "What do you miss out on in your life because you don't linger? Because you have something else you think you need to get to?"
Immediately I thought - I. Don't. Linger.
I prefer to know the outcome of things. I leave church services or classes as soon as they are over. If I'm uncertain then I tend to remove myself from whatever the situation is. If I feel like I'm out of words for the day, I leave. Lingering feels so awkward to me. I've left dates before it gets awkward just to avoid the unknown. I'm often the first one to leave dinner and start clearing the dishes even if the others are clearly staying longer.
I feel like my leaving is instinctual. I don't really think about it. But it is something I have been recognizing about myself lately.
I wonder about all the things I've missed out on since I don't linger. What friendship have i missed out on or could have grown deeper? How many kisses have I missed? Where did Jesus show up but I was already long gone?
Now for the past month I have been lingering. I've had breakfast, coffee or dinner with as many people in Pensacola that I can. I've started writing again. I haven't moved officially moved to Nashville yet so I can go back to Pensacola one more time. I'm allowing myself to grieve & love & say good bye over time.
This week I'm traveling alone. I'm spending time in Alaska for the first time. When I travel I have a hard time balancing time alone and listening for God's voice - with wanting to see everything I can!!
But I am listening. Lingering. Meeting locals and staying for conversations with them. Sitting in front of mountains and watching them change as the sun moves.
I'm glad that I've been reminded to slow down... To linger. To do this I have to be intentional. I have to make myself stay when I get uncomfortable or bored or feel uncertain.
Now I realize that just because I linger does not mean that my life will be incredibly different. But there could be one time...
...that I linger. And Jesus calls out my name.