Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mary Magdalene's Day

This is my 50th blog post! So exciting, isn't it?!

Also, I post today in honor of my wedding anniversary.......29 years young is our marriage. Some of the lyrics from an old 1970's pop song, "Still The One", sung by the group Orleans, seem to hit the nail on the head for this marriage.....

"We've been together since way back when;

Sometimes I never want to see you again!

But, I want you to know....

After all these years.....

You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear!"

I love the honesty of the first two lines. Husband and I were 15 when we met, and then got married at age 20.....that's quite young by today's standards. Maybe in a way we've grown up together. I would assume that nearly every married person has had the thought, "What was I thinking back then? How did I get myself into this?!" You just make up your mind to stay the course, and pray for wisdom. I have learned to keep my mouth shut about certain things, laugh as often as possible, and if all else fails, just head out the door and take a long walk.

I didn't know it back then in 1978 on my wedding day, but July 22 is also the day set aside to honor St. Mary Magdalene. (The church I grew up in didn't commemorate saints' days.) The Lutheran church I belong to now has been getting more into that sort of thing, and in our new hymnal The Lutheran Service Book, there is a hymn to honor special women of the Bible, "For All The Faithful Women" (#855). We sang it this morning in church, not all 13 verses, but we did sing verse 11, the one about Mary Magdalene. The Old Testament lesson was Proverbs 31:10-31, which begins with..... "An excellent wife who can find? She is more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her." I really chuckled inside, considering this was also our anniversary day. Humorous little synchronicity!

Later, Husband commented about the verses of Proverbs 31: "What's the husband's role all the while the excellent wife is doing things like bringing food from afar (verse 14), considering and buying a field (verse 16), making and selling garments (verse 24), etc., etc.?" I replied that the husband is to be "known in the gates where he sits among the elders of the land", as stated in verse 23. We wondered if that means Husband should sit in the town coffee shop and play cards with the old guys?!

I had worn a red shirt to church this morning in honor of Mary Magdalene, since she was so often portrayed in scarlet garb in old artwork. She was maligned for years by the Church, given the label of prostitute by some pope way back in the 500's A.D. The Eastern Orthodox Church supposedly views her as the "Apostle to the Apostles". Interesting. Today's Gospel reading was from John 20, where Mary goes to Jesus' tomb, finds the stone rolled away, and then has an encounter with the resurrected Jesus. Amazing that she, a member of the lowly female gender, was allowed the privilege of being the first person to see Him alive again after the Crucifixion.

I read The DaVinci Code a few years ago, and I have read a couple of Margaret Starbird's books, The Woman With the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels. I'm not convinced about the theory that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married, but I did enjoy the latter book because Ms. Starbird goes into detail about the many synchronicities she experienced during the writing of her first book about Mary Magdalene. Fascinating......particularly the time when she unexpectedly met people from Provence, France. Her experience in the psychiatric unit hit me in a very personal way, as I once had a somewhat similar ordeal come into my life. What she wrote nearly gave me chills.

One speculation Margaret Starbird makes in her books is that the title "Magdalene" possibly does not refer to the town where Mary came from, but actually is "the Magdalen", meaning some sort of tower, referred to in the Old Testament somewhere.

Sometimes I do wonder, though, couldn't Jesus have been married? Marriage is not a sin. Scriptures don't directly state whether He was married or not. As a teenager, I remember seeing the movie version of "Jesus Christ, Superstar". Actually, I think our pastor had our youth group watch it so we could discuss the scriptural and nonscriptural aspects of the story portrayed in the movie. Mary Magdalene was given the prostitute persona, I think, and the movie probably suggested that she and Jesus were unmarried lovers, so it was easy for me to then dismiss the whole idea as a fable, since we know Jesus did not sin. Its a little more difficult to totally dismiss if you consider Mary Magdalene not as a prostitute, but maybe as the legitimate legal wife of Jesus. And I can't entirely rule out the possibility that a patriarchal church hierarchy would later cover up evidence of such a marriage.

Think about getting a church year calendar which shows saints' commemoration days throughout the year. I never thought I'd be interested in such things, but it does make me feel more connected to meaningful events far in the past. And if your birthday or anniversary falls on a saint's day, it can seem very special! I ordered my calendar online from the Fellowship of St. James, and it includes dates significant in both Eastern and Western Christian traditions.

No comments: