Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mary Magdalene

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.

4 comments:

Fran said...

That last sentence will live in my heart for a long time. Thank you.

ROBERTA said...

I like to think of her as the woman who, amongst other roles, "bankrolled" Jesus' ministry.

Diane said...

yes, Roberta, I think she and a few of those other women mentioned, too. Which leads me to consider how she was a woman of great need (healed of 7 demons) and a woman of great resources at the same time. I think we tend to think of ourselves, and of others, as one or the other.

Marsha said...

I think you summed up very nicely why who she might have been earlier in life is eclipsed by where she was later in life. And really, isn't that the point for all of us.

I always find truth in your writing.

Thanks Diane!