An Easter woman
It is Mary Magdalene who goes with the other women to the tomb to the customary anointing of the corpse when all the others around Jesus had disassociated themselves from his life, his work, his vision.
She serves to the very end. She witnesses to the last moment. She stands up to face the system where there is no applause and there is no strong support for the movement and there is no protection from its enemies.
It is Mary Magdalene, the evangelist John details, to whom Jesus appears first after the resurrection. It is Mary Magdalene who is instructed to proclaim the Easter message to others. It is Mary Magdalene whom Jesus commissions to “tell Peter and the others that I have gone before them into Galilee.” It is Mary Magdalene who sees the Risen Christ.
And then, the scripture says pathetically, “But Peter and John and the others did not believe her and they went to the tomb to see for themselves.”
It is two thousand years later and little or nothing has changed. The voice of women proclaiming the presence of Christ goes largely unconfirmed. The call of women to minister goes largely unnoted. The commission of women to the church goes largely disdained.
Mary Magdalene is, no doubt about it, an important icon for the twenty-first century.
She calls all of us to faith and fortitude, to unity and universalism, to a Christianity that rises above sexism, and a commitment to the things of God the surmounts every obstacle and surpasses every system.
Mary Magdalene is a shining light of hope, a disciple of Christ, a model of the wholeness of life in a world whose name is despair and in a church whose vision is yet, still, even now, partial.