Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Feast of Mary Magdalene

Today we celebrate the life of Mary Magdalene.  Some of our churches will celebrate today.  Some Christians will celebrate tomorrow.

I never thought much about saints and their feast days until I started blogging more frequently and needed more topics to cover.  I've found that contemplating the saints has enriched my modern life.  There are many things that Protestants have stripped from the church through the centuries.  Good riddance to some.  But there are many traditions and customs that I'd like to see restored.  Celebrating the feast days of the saints is high on the list.

Pastor Joelle has a great post about shuffling Mary Magdalene off until Monday.  She says:

"The old rule used to be that biblical saints and commemorations could take precedence over the lectionary for a Green Sunday. Now they all just get shoved off to Monday.

Well, no, not everyone it seems. The Nativity of John the Baptist (June 24) remained as an option on Sunday. So it all seems rather arbitrary. Well it seems someone actually asked the folks who make these decisions what the deal was. And the explanation is that those festivals which are more 'Christocentric' and 'Catholic' like Holy Cross day and John the Baptist, and Peter and Paul get to stay on Sunday. Saints who are *less* Christocentric, like Mary Magdalene get shoved off of Sunday.

HUH???? Okay before I was annoyed by the calendar alterations. Now I'm downright pissed. Mary Magdalene, the first FRIGGIN WITNESS OF THE RESURRECTION is LESS Christocentric than John the Baptist??? Really??

And what is with making hierarchy of witnesses and saints? Oh right. We are following Rome's lead on this. They are all about hierarchy. Naturally a woman like Mary Magdalene is less important than Peter and Paul."

I have written about Mary Magdalene before, and tomorrow, I'll link you to the piece I wrote for Living Lutheran.  In the meantime, here are some quotes from that piece to whet your appetite:

"This week has been more hectic than usual at work, which leads me to reflect on what Mary has to teach us about pace and rushing and hurry, hurry, hurry.  It's Mary who stays behind to grieve, while the male disciples are running off to do whatever it is they feel compelled to do.  It's because she stays behind to rest and to grieve that she gets to be the first to see the risen Lord."
"One of the lessons offered in Mary Magdalene’s story might have to do with reputation and how the world might slander us for our faithfulness.  But we really can't worry about that.  The world will slander us for all sorts of reasons.  The story of Mary Magdalene reminds us that there are greater rewards than respect and a good reputation, a reminder that’s still true today in our modern times."

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