Where would we be without Mary?
Mark 16:1-7 (HCSB)
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.’”
There are so many elements to this passage that I love. Most all of them, however, cause some distress as well. What do I make of this seeming dichotomy?
First of all, I dearly love the passion these three women had for Jesus. They did things no male was apparently involved in. They made specific, faith-filled actions, that were not replicated by any male apostle. They also faced concrete challenges with faith. for example, why didn't they just stay home and save their money? They must have known ahead of time that they would not be able to roll the stone away. they must have known that no "apostles" were coming with them to help with "woman's work". They did not likely have the extra cash laying around to buy the spices. For that matter, how did they even have the time to invest in such an endeavor? Given all these external circumstances, these three faithful women persevered and pushed forward to accomplish what their love for the Master compelled them to do. Even in death, they sought Him out!
The angel knew what was going on, the angel knew why they were there. The angel knew they were seeking Jesus. The angel did not bother to say: "Bummer, where's Peter? James? John? Don't you know I can't talk to women?". Instead, the angel of the Lord recognized their faith in something, their love for someone, even someone unseen. Next, the angel gave them a command, to go and tell the men about the risen One!
I love the fact that women, acting in faith - in the face of death - were commanded by an angel to go and share the resurrection message with the Disciples and especially Peter. Did they not already sit at the feet of Jesus? Did they not already hear Him tell them He would die and rise again? So why were women commanded to tell the disciples that Jesus would meet with them later?
Here's the challenging part: how is it that Christendom has historically denigrated women, challenged and doubted the feminine, downplayed the role of the female and subjugated them to care for the "home" when so clearly in the Gospels they were the first messengers of the resurrection to the early church?
We seek to abolish such dichotomies within the OSF and TIFPECUSA. We seek to actively encourage, allow for, and intentionally seek out the unification of the feminine and masculine. In Christ, that is, in the resurrected Christ, there is no male or female, for all are one.
What are your thoughts about this passage? What strikes you as important and meaningful? What inspires you to move out and face the stones that you know you cannot roll away?
This Easter, 2018, may all stones that separate humanity from the living love of God be rolled away!