Archive for April 7th, 2007

Her Highest Calling

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 20:1-18 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

There’s been a lot of interest in Mary Magdalene in the popular culture lately. Readers of The Da Vinci Code imagine she was the Holy Grail, chosen to carry Jesus’ child. Watchers of The Jesus Family Tomb talk about “Mary, also called Master,” and say she was a teacher of secret knowledge later silenced by the patriarchy. But we don’t need to look to legends and myths to give Mary Magdalene an exalted place among the Apostles.

For centuries, scholars have looked to this text and said Mary Magdalene was Apostola Apostolorum, which means Apostle to the Apostles. Mary was the one chosen to take the message to the other disciples that Jesus had risen, so they could then take that message to the rest of the world. In a real sense, Mary is first among the Apostles — the beginning of Christianity as we know it, post-Resurrection.

What I find personally most inspiring about Mary’s story is how she found this high calling at what must have been the darkest time in her life. And she found it just by doing what came naturally to her.

Imagine how Mary Magdalene must have felt that morning. She was already devastated by Jesus’ death, and then she came to the tomb to find someone had stolen his body. Jesus was a street preacher with “nowhere to lay his head” (Matt 8:20). He certainly wouldn’t have had any possessions to leave to those he loved. Even his clothes were taken from him and given to the soldiers who crucified him. The only tangible thing Mary had to hold onto as a remembrance of Jesus was his dead body, and now even that was gone. She must have been utterly destroyed by the loss.

Peter and the other disciple seemed to have better heads on their shoulders that morning. They were the ones able to handle a crisis, immediately running to tell the rest of the disciples — and probably plan what to do next. Mary, on the other hand, crumpled in grief. She was at the end of her rope. She could do nothing but weep.

And that was where Jesus found her.

While the other disciples rushed around trying to manage the situation, Jesus comforted Mary and gave her the mission that would make her first among the Apostles. She became the Apostolora Apostolorum, by simply being true to her own grief, and doing what seemed right in that moment.

Thought for the day: On Easter, we affirm that when things seem the darkest, the Resurrection is right around the corner. With the story of Mary Magdalene, we remember that God will give us our highest calling when we are simply being ourselves.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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