Mary Magdalene is stopping by for services tomorrow, at our 8:00 a.m. Matins service, and at our 7:00 p.m. Evening Service.
So, I've been thinking about Mary M, her checkered past, the conceptions and misconceptions people have about her, what we know about her, what we don't know.
For centuries, most of the church has thought of Mary Magdalene as a reformed prostitute. There are a lot of reasons for this, not all of them so bad. Repentant sinners, like Matthew or Zaccheaus the tax collectors, well, they make good stories. Also, it seems like to the (mostly male) leadership of the church, when you think of a woman sinning, you think of a certain particular kind of sin. Don't know why.
But, I digress.
Now, the church has looked back over the scriptures more carefully and many of us are saying, "hey! Mary Magdalene wasn't a prostitute!" She was conflated with any one of a number of women in the Bible. At least one is an unnamed woman in Luke chapter seven who is identified as a sinner, and who washes Jesus feet with her tears, and wipes them with her hair.
Mary Magdalene first appears right after this story, but there is no evidence that she is that unnamed woman.
Jesus cast 7 demons out of Mary, and then she followed him. She was one of several women who supported his ministry. But we don't hear much about her in the Bible, except in two places -- at the cross, and at the empty tomb.
She is there, with Jesus mother and the beloved disciple and other women, standing at the foot of the cross.
And she is there, weeping at the empty tomb, when Jesus calls her name.
It seems to me, in the scheme of things, these are the two most important places to be.
At the cross, and at the tomb.
The place of deepest sorrow, and the place of deepest, most inexplicable joy.