Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Would Not Believe it

Now after Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:9-20 

Many people I know can say that on one believed them when they told a fanciful story. Although we love fanciful and scary stories, we rarely believe them and often dismiss the person as having challenges. Mary Magdalene was considered a challenge and a force to be reckoned with. She had nothing to loose, since she was once so very broken. She saw Jesus and told the brothers, but they would not believe her. They didn't want to think she was capable of anything, let alone seeing their teacher risen from the dead. Surely the men would get first sign, first word. It couldn't be because of she was a woman, a distraction and full of troubles. She held on to her story, to the gift of resurrected life. And we can, likewise, hold on to her witness.

We find ourselves, in these days after Easter, an exhausted lot of clergy and lay people. Holy Week and Easter can be a strain on the strongest one of us. We can find ourselves without an ounce of faith or energy left. It is then that someone cones knocking in our door. Jesus, encountering Mary in the midst of her grief, shattered all her understanding and gave her the job of being herald to the world. No one listened. At first, they were dismissive, in their own grief and fear. Yet Jesus persisted, Mary persisted and we have a faith now founded on her persistence and witness. In the midst of terror and exhaustion, Mary received a tremendous honor a tremendous gift.

Today, I ask God to help me move beyond the terror, exhaustion and grief to the place where I can open my heart again and believe the amazing witness of Mary Magdalene and all the women like her. May her faith be a seal of faithfulness for us all.

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