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Easter Morning: the ‘Other’ Mary

by Canon David Winter

as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life

 

THE OTHER MARYAs the traditional Easter story is rehearsed again this month, you may notice that there is one name that frequently occurs. It is that of the ‘other’ Mary – not the mother of Jesus, but Mary of Magdalene, who stood by her at the cross and became the first human being actually to meet the risen Christ
 
That’s quite a record for a woman who, the Gospels tell us, had been delivered by Jesus from ‘seven devils’ – New Testament language for some dark and horrible affliction of body, mind or spirit. As a result, her devotion to Him was total and her grief at His death overwhelming
 
In church history, Mary Magdalene became the ‘fallen woman’ a harlot who was rescued and forgiven by Jesus but there is no evidence to prove she was a ‘fallen woman’ but the contrast is sublime, Mary the virgin mother, the symbol of purity. Mary Magdalene, the scarlet woman who was saved and forgiven, the symbol of redemption. Surely, we all fall somewhere between those two extremes
 
The dark cloud from which she was delivered may have been sexual, we are not told. What we do know is that the two Marys stood together at the cross, the Blessed Virgin and the woman rescued from who knows what darkness and despair
 
The second great moment for her was as unexpected as it was momentous. She had gone with other women to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. An angelic figure told them that Jesus was not there, He had risen – and the others drifted off. But Mary stayed, reluctant to leave it like that. She became aware of a man nearby, whom she took to be the gardener. She explained to Him that the body of ‘her Lord’ had been taken away and she didn’t know where to find Him
 
The man simply said her name ‘Mary’ and she instantly realised it was Jesus. She made to hug Him, but He told her not to touch Him because his resurrection was not yet complete. She was, however, to go to the male disciples and tell them she had met Him. She did – but they couldn’t believe her
 
Her words – ‘I have seen the Lord’ – echo down the centuries, the very beating heart of the Christian gospel

Feedback:
Derek Mill (Guest) 15/04/2019 06:58
Forgiven much, love much. Redemption and love so often go hand in hand. Thank you.