July 22, 2016
Morning Prayer Readings: Psalm 116; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Mark 15:47-16:7
There are many myths and rumors about Mary Magdalene that are untrue. By scripture alone we cannot know how intimately she knew Jesus, whether or not she was a prostitute, or what each of her seven demons were. Here’s what’s true: Mary Magdalene was a character whose life was embellished into gossip and speculation, whose spirit was and is often overlooked, and whose heart was faithfully bound to the life of Christ. It may be that no one knew Mary Magdalene, that no one saw her, that no one got to know what her true self was like. Sounds grim. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like I feel somedays—unknown, misunderstood, cast aside.
So where is our hope?
Our hope lies in John 20:16 when Jesus said, “Mary!” Resurrected, standing at the empty tomb, Jesus called Mary Magdalene by name. He knew her. Despite the demons that once occupied her body, despite her reputation, despite all of it, Jesus knew and named Mary Magdalene. This is remarkable in and of itself, but there’s more to learn from Mary. In the face of the living God, Mary wasn’t scared or ashamed of who she was. She knew Jesus too. She knew that he was Lord, teacher, and healer. She knew that at the feet of Jesus she was known, safe, and loved despite all of it.
We talk about wanting to be relational people. Here’s the model. Jesus and Mary Magdalene knowing and loving one another, demons and all. Shameless, fearless, faithful knowledge and love. Can you love each other this way? Can you love our Lord this way? Can you accept that Jesus already knows you, already loves you, and still calls you by name?
Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.