April 15, 2001 - Easter

John 20:1-18

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, "They took the Master from the tomb. We don't know where they've put him."

Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, who knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"

"They took my Master," she said, "and I don't know where they put him." After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him.

Jesus spoke to her, "Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?"

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, "Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him."

Jesus said, "Mary."

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, "Rabboni !" meaning "Teacher!"

Jesus said, "Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'"

Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: "I saw the Master!" And she told them everything he said to her.

<The Message >


1. These words from Margaret Wold in Women of Faith and Spirit: Profiles of Fifteen Biblical Witnesses

"Whenever we, as persons of this moment in Christian history, witness to the transforming power of the resurrection in our lives, we are following in the footsteps of our foremother and sister in the faith, Mary Magdalene. She who had encountered the living Lord in the restoration of body and spirit must have proclaimed the good news with great power. Our day, no less than Mary Magdalene's, demands the same kind of powerful personal testimony."

So, how powerful is your personal testimony?

2. These words from Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel in The Women Around Jesus

"Mary Magdalene may be regarded as the first apostle. She was the first to proclaim the gospel of the risen Jesus. This fact was remembered down to the Middle Ages. But her message was forgotten. Today, feminine experience and theology take their place alongside patriarchal experience and theology. What does she have to say to us, this woman who was healed, who combines friendship and surrender, eros and agape? This woman who to the last clings to this earth and relationships on it, and who exhausts all hopes? This woman who learns that resurrection means that she must not remain in this circle, but learn to be open towards a new community? The theology of Mary Magdalene has not yet been written. Perhaps the women of today will succeed in writing it."

So, how do you assist the "perhaps" in becoming "success"?

3. These words from Wolfgang Muller in the article "The Enneagram and the Bible" in Experiencing the Enneagram. This is the first of three excerpts as we look at Mary Magdalen, Thomas and Peter. The Enneagram is a tool for the "discernment of spirits."

"... I kept running up against the triad that is described in Enneagram literature as the middle of the body (gut), head, and heart.... The triad appears most clearly in the three figures of Peter, Thomas, and Mary Magdalen, who when they meet the resurrected Lord reveal their character by their typical ways of reacting and responding: jumping the gun/facing the crucial question (Peter, in John 21:15-18, "Do you love me?"), running away/accepting the invitation (Thomas in John 20:24-29, "Put your finger here"), clinging to others/freeing oneself and turning to others (Mary Magdalen, in John 20:17, "Do not hold me, but go to my brethren and say...")....

"Heart: TWO - THREE - FOUR
I see the defensive posture of the heart center in the quest that can manifest itself in a lack of distance from others (TWO), oneself (THREE), or God (FOUR). It has a tendency to lose itself. When the level of life-in-abundance comes into play, the survival level of compulsively wanting-to-shine-in-front-of-others -- whether by giving them help (TWO), displaying one's achievements (THREE), or uniqueness (FOUR) -- no longer makes any sense or has any justification. here too we find resistance, but of a kind I would call "soft." There are people in Jesus's milieu who would like to put him in their back pocket. John 6:15 speaks of those who would make him king "by force," so that Jesus has to slip away. This habit of drawing others to our side, getting close to them, making others co-dependent on us or us on others, endangers the freedom of others or surrenders our own. Mary Magdalen's encounter with the resurrected Jesus dramatizes the way the "addictive" reaction or "soft" resistance can be overcome and the energy hidden in this defensive posture of compulsive orientation to others can be set free: This is the acceptance of the mission to others while bearing witness to one's own experience, by which the necessary and salutary distance from others, and thereby authentic communications and relationships, are made possible."

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