Tuesday, March 25, 2008
In the Questions: Mary Magdalene Encountering Christ
I'm thinking about Mary Magdalene today, outside Christ's tomb. He's not there. She is sad. She is crying. There are angels. A gardener appears. It is Christ resurrected, who she doesn't recognize right away, with some words for this weeping woman.
Here are my questions, based on this text from the Gospel of John:
What exactly does Jesus want?
Why does He appear here, to her?
Who is Mary Magdalene to Him?
What does it mean to "go to the father"? To anyone's father?
Why does Jesus command her to "let go" of Him?
Is she clinging and preventing something from happening?
Could He gently, lovingly, be inviting her to release her understanding of the loss of Him, and receive something better?
A resurrected Christ is still Christ, yes? but one of even more power, love, possibility?
What happens when we cling to our own fixed notions of love? What happens when we let go? How does God never let us go? What transpires in our tears and choosing to do nothing, but receive?
What do you and I see before us?
What is our present day tomb?
Who is our present day Rabbouni?
Is Christ appearing in a new form?
What gardeners and angels do we have in our midst?
In the questions,
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.