Sunday, April 24, 2011

Magdalene

This morning at Common Table, the Best Writer I Personally Know gave a very interesting reading of Luke 24:13-35, the passage about Jesus' appearance on the road to Emmaus. It was interesting because he paused after the bit where they say "some of our women amazed us" with their report of Jesus' resurrection, and where some of the disciples decided to check it out for themselves. He smiled sardonically and said "that always kills me," or something quite like that.

It's been a while since I reflected on the disciples' attitude towards Mary Magdalene (plus Joanna, Mary the Mother of James, Salome, and unnamed "other" women, depending on which Gospel you're reading) when they relayed the news of Christ's appearance to them. The disciples didn't believe them. Only impulsive Peter and The Disciple Jesus Loved (again, depending on which Gospel you read) took off running down to the tomb to check for themselves. The others evidently weren't impressed enough by what the women had said to bother following up. Which is literally incredible to me. You'd really have to have a low opinion of a person to hear them tell a story like that and just dismiss it outright.

It wasn't the first time nor the last time that God has gifted and honored women to be His messengers and teachers, but His church has refused to acknowledge it. A lot of progress has been made, but I know very well that much of His church has a long, long, LONG way to go.

This is a poem about that. Thanks, Stav, for the inspiration.

Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, sobbing at the tomb,
the one from whom You had cast hundreds of demons,
the one who was first to Your grave,
was the one to whom You first appeared.

A woman, it is rumored, of some ill repute,
who followed You with pure devotion...
perhaps the first man to to ever show her respect...
she was the one to whom You first appeared.

Where did this get lost along the way?
Jesus of Nazareth, both God and man
is raised from the dead, and chooses to spread
this news through Mary Magdalene.

When did Your church forget
that a woman was the first evangelist?
A woman the first one with the courage to show
her face as Your follower after Your execution?

Mary Magdalene, crying now with joy,
throws herself at Your feet, and like a kind father,
to a daughter, You said, "Don't cling to Me.
Go, and proclaim what You have seen."

And they didn't believe her.
When will Your church learn?


1 comment:

Mike Stavlund said...

My pleasure, Amy. (And thank *you* for such a great poem. I think it might inspire me to write something back. )