Zeal and holy freedom – Mary Magdalene

 

 Correct with kindness and love
but also with zeal and holy freedom.
If you do not speak out,
if you do not sound the alarm
when it is needed,
you will be justly convicted
by your silence.

 

Today the Episcopal Church celebrates the life and work of Mary Magdalene. At least the life and work we think we know. In all these 2000+ years, her name and story have circled the Christian faith, calling for curiosity and attention. Her presence has been strengthening for some and, clearly threatening to others depending on Christianity’s perspective on women at the time.

I have always been intrigued. She must’ve had an important role in the spreading of the good news while Jesus was alive. She certainly was prominent in the discovery of his resurrection. And writings tell us that the disciples relied on her wisdom and advice.

People are drawn to understand more. Studies of ancient texts continue to reveal new and intriguing possibilities. (reference this sermon by Diana Butler Bass preached recently at the annual Wild Goose Festival. “All the Marys” – Diana Butler Bass)

As a woman with a disability and an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, I have always seen Mary as a symbol of determination and confidence. Her voice would be heard -her witness shared. An invitation and example for those of us who know how easy it is for voices to be silenced.

I look forward to this day every year. Taking time to find new images and re-reading the gospel written in her name, the only early text attributed to a woman.  The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

 It is good to take time for these things but St. Mary Euphrasia stirs me to remember that speaking out is my charge, never to be accused of silence when the alarm is needed.

 


Quote: St. Mary Euphrasia
Painting of Mary Magdalene: Clare Elam

uncertain…

 

Sticking with uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic this is the spiritual path.
– Pema Chödrön

So much uncertainty. I have tried to write but it is hard for the words to form sentences. Living through this moment in time, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I try to stay busy. I gratefully speak to my mother and father and sister each day (and give thanks for FaceTime). I call my brother far away. I stay in touch with friends. I sit on my new screened-in porch. I watch winter move aside for spring.

But I cannot plan. I stay in each moment knowing it’s the only moment I have. There is no illusion that everything is OK. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. I want to do something but what. I want to have hope but how. I see nature’s beauty around me and want to share it. Now is not the time but when.

We all want answers. We all want solutions. Answers and solutions are not easy to find right now. Be gentle, be honest – one day to the next.

Grateful for this wisdom from Diana Butler Bass:

“Living in the present moment is a skill and a grace.  There is much wisdom in Jesus’ words: “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).

Advice: Don’t do more than you need to do.  Address only what needs to be addressed today.  The best thing most of us can do is to stop the spread by distancing, advocate for those who may be most endangered, and provide what help can be given to neighbors.  Otherwise, a virus pandemic is not something we can control or fix. We can manage one day at a time, one step at a time.  Breathe.  

That’s what I know and my big advice.  Feel what you feel.  Mix in love and gratitude even if that seems hard or impossible.  Take responsibility for by what you can and don’t try to fix what is beyond your control.  Embrace the day.

And know that you are not alone.”

An instrument of gratefulness

 

Make me an instrument of gratefulness.
Guide me to the way of mercy and love that leads to peace;
That I may guide others to abundant life.
For the sake of healing my own heart and healing the world.


Quote: Diana Butler Bass
Image: French Broad River, Hot Springs NC

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