“Nevertheless She Preached – Mary Magdalene” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

August 16th,2018 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

I hope you are having a wonderful week and are being inspired to share your gifts and the good news of God’s love with others the way we have been seeing the women of the Bible do so. I know that I have been inspired to nourish my gifts and to honor them rather than take them for granted which I am often wont to do. This week we have an incredible gift, The Rev. Sydney Avent is preaching on our sister Mary Magdalene. I can’t wait to hear her preach this incredible woman’s story.

I have been sitting a lot with the women of the Bible these last few weeks, as I hope you have as well. And I have noticed in my research that most (definitely not all), but most of how we view biblical women come from one small story of the Bible. A verse here, a couple verses there. But as we see men travel across the scriptures and seeing well rounded and dynamic sides of them, the same is not done for the women. However, like I said, this is not true for all women, and Mary Magdalene is one such story. Let’s see a part of Mary’s story in this week’s scriptures from Luke, John, and Acts.

8:1 Now soon after this, Jesus journeyed through the towns and villages proclaiming the Good News of God’s reign. With Jesus went the Twelve, 2 as well as some women he had healed of evil spirits and sicknesses; Mary of Magdala, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 3 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza; Suzanna; and many others who were contributing to the support of Jesus and the Twelve with their own funds.” (Luke 8:1-3 ILB)

20: 11 Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, 12 and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus’ body had lain.
13 They asked her, “Why are you weeping?”
She answered them, “Because they have taken away my Rabbi, and I don’t know where they have put the body.”
14 No sooner had she said this than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?”
She supposed it was the gardener, so she said, “Please, if you’re the one who carried Jesus away, tell me where you’ve laid the body and I will take it away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned to him and said, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.” (John 20:11-16)

1: 21 “It is necessary, therefore, that one of those who accompanied us all the time that Jesus moved among us, 22 from the baptism of John until the day Jesus was taken up from us, should be named as witness with us to the Resurrection.”
23 At that, they nominated two—Joseph, called Barsabbas or Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “O God, you can read the hearts of people. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to occupy this apostolic ministry, replacing Judas, who turned away and went his own way.” 26 They then drew lots between the two. The choice fell to Matthias, who was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:21-26)

I am hoping you got to that last pericope and thought what I did, “But what about Mary?” Who are our Mary Magdalenes … women whom we meet on the road of life that support, love, and encourage us, but may not get the credit that they deserve? We know that they have been written out of our texts, but do we sometimes subconsciously write them out of our own narratives? Meaning, do we think we get places in life on our own? Do we believe others when they say they did it on their own? What harm is being done by not giving women the recognition they deserve in their life? What opportunities have we kept them from either intentionally or unintentionally?

Friends, as we move through this week, let’s take extra care to notice who is with us. Are they new to this journey? Have they been with us for as long as we can remember? No matter where they joined your journey, let us give thanks for all the gifts they bring to our life, and think of others that could benefit from knowing them as well.

Shalom Y’all.
Rev. Stephanie