Monday, July 23, 2018


Yesterday was the feast day of Mary Magdalene, and it was a Sunday when we had planned to explore gender issues--and I was in charge of all three services.  I had played with a variety of sermon ideas, but I changed everything when I realized yesterday morning before church that it was the actual feast day of Mary Magdalene.

The heart of my sermon revolved around the idea that Mary Magdalene has been marginalized, as have the women of the early church.  What would our society look like if those stories hadn't been suppressed? 

What if we had celebrated Mary Magdalene as the first witness to the resurrection?  What if we celebrated her as the one who was first to tell of the resurrection?

For that matter, what if instead of celebrating the evangelizing apostles who went out with very little in their pockets, we celebrated the ones who stayed to build up the communities that the apostles created?

The powers of patriarchy are very strong, so perhaps we would still have ended up with the same type of society.  But the idea of an alternate community committed to living the ideals that Jesus gave us--that idea might have taken stronger root if we had celebrated a different approach.  As I've said before, most of us can't be the kind of disciple that leaves family and commitments behind to traipse the country.

Many of us have been raised to believe that's what Christ wanted us to do--there's a Great Commission after all that tells us to go to all the lands and make disciples.  But we could do that by staying rooted.

Many point to the Gospel lessons, but I wonder what Gospels were left out of our Bible.  Maybe there were Gospels which present a different picture.  Maybe Jesus traipsed for awhile and then found a good place to put down roots.

Or maybe it's my monastic mindset that wants to believe these things, that we can be effective witnesses by creating alternate communities right in the heart of empire. 

Regardless of the way we choose to do it, it's important that we do what we can to be communities that can reweave the fabric of society that is increasingly frayed and torn.  That's our great commission for the 21st century.

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