Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mary Magdalene

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, `I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.  John 20:11-18

She was a woman weeping. Her whole world had collapsed in a few short days  She was a woman weeping with a loss too deep for words. All the love that had defined her, given her direction, set her free, and joyously allowed her to serve - all was gone. As she approached the tomb, insults were heaped upon her already broken heart. The tomb had been defiled, the and her teacher's body stolen,  taken from the place of final rest. After all that terror was there to be no rest, no repose? Mary, the fallen woman, society's reject, this scarlet woman witnessed the resurrection and was to announce it to the others. The lowly woman of no worth was the herald of God's incredible love for the world.

Today we celebrate Mary Magdalene, the woman many have speculated about, many have written fiction about, and a woman we know really very little about. We do know she was there at the tomb and carried, alone or with the other women, the wondrous tale of Jesus' resurrection. The disciples would first say she was mad with grief. She also stands as a icon for all of us. She was completely broken and her sins widely known. And Mary was forgiven and loved, redeemed by the Savior of the world. She reminds us that none of us are too far gone, too broken, too foolish or too far from God. God's love is reaching to us now, reaching through our tears and terrors to show us new life.

Today, I pray that I can remember the witness of Mary Magdalene, who shouts the good news down through the centuries. He is risen and among us. God is among us. May we live this day with the knowledge of God's long reach, reaching each of us who have wandered and is drawing us home.

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