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

Seen…

“…And in the darkness, before the dawn has begun, all that (Mary) finds is emptiness: there is no body, no beloved, only an absence that must echo the hollow she carries in her own heart.   And then, angels; and then, one who comes to her, calling her name. Confusion turns to clarity, and tears give way to astonished joy. The Magdalene sees.   Oh, my friends. It is Easter Day. Even in the shadows, resurrection is beginning. In the emptiness, in the echoing hollow of our heart, may we hear our name called with a love that breaks into our bewilderment and fear. May we know and see anew the Christ who comes to us in the darkness and in the day, beckoning us to begin again.”

 
 
Seen
A Blessing for Easter Day
 
You had not imagined
that something so empty
could fill you
to overflowing,
 
and now you carry
the knowledge
like an awful treasure
or like a child
that curls itself
within your heart:
 
how the emptiness
will bear forth
a new world
you cannot fathom
but on whose edge
you stand.
 
So why do you linger?
You have seen,
and so you are
already blessed.
You have been seen,
and so you are
the blessing.
 
There is no other word
you need.
There is simply
to go
and tell.
There is simply
to begin.
 

Quote: Jan Richardson 
Blessing: Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Image: Pinterest

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