Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. –Mark 15:40
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. –Luke 24:1
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her. –John 20:18
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. –Matthew 28:1
The story of Jesus is a story of heartbreak and loss, but it is also a story of commitment and loyalty.
His journey was a lonely one. He was not understood by people, even though many worshipped and adored him. But he was a wanderer, a traveler, sleeping outside and moving from place to place, to whatever city God led him, so that he could teach and do his work, spread his message of love and truth and forgiveness.
He did nothing wrong. He did not violate any laws, and only aimed to help people or teach them to see differently, to learn how they had been confused, or under the guise of illusion. And yet still, he was mocked, sought after, betrayed, tortured, killed.
Imagine the capacity of love he had within him, to see so many he had helped and healed and loved, jeer at him. To know at a fundamental level that he was good, and yet to be a victim of others’ hurt and blame and animosity.
This kind of persecution did not only happen to Jesus. It happened to many historical figures who stood up for what they believed to be right, and faced a world filled with darkness, a world of people who couldn’t understand, and whose recourse was anger and violence.
John F. Kennedy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
What Jesus did have, thank God, was people who were loyal. They were not the apostles who we always hear about, the apostles whose words make up most of the male-dominated Bible.
He had The Women.
The women who prayed for him as he died.
The women who never gave up.
The women who came to tend to his wounded body.
The women who visited him after he was buried.
The women who were the first ones to find out he had risen from the dead.
And yet these women’s stories have largely gone lost, have largely been left to our imaginations, because a council got together and decided women’s stories in early Christianity just did not matter. Something about the way women prayed, loved, and taught, was dangerous to them. It needed to be relegated to the darkness, they thought, left unexplained and unknown. Ignored. Forgotten.
It was a violent act, an act we’re still paying for now, at a time when women need to rise up.
Because women are coming out of the darkness. The Lord is ready. So are the saints. They are hungry for a return to Love in a religion that is supposed to be about forgiveness and communion, but in which many Christians have gotten so, so lost, that they no longer know what True Love looks like. Christians who worship money, power, and politics instead of the Lord. Christians whose spirits might be willing to be one with God, but whose flesh is weak.
Remember who is loyal in your life. Theirs are the stories you can trust.
Hold fast to the people who say, I don’t understand her, and I don’t know why she’s doing this, but I love her, and I will be there. And I will listen instead of try to control.
Those who say, Are you sure? And yet, How can I help?
Those who challenge, but whose love persists instead of pulling away.
In my own life, I am not interested in hanging around any more Judases, or Peters, even though they’ll come around eventually. Just give me the Marys, and let’s go forward.
To save Christianity, to return it to a religion of Love instead of hate and control and domination, it is time for the Marys to stand up.
True Love is way more radical than we may at first believe.