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Spiritual Growth

An Easter Reflection on Mary Magdalene

By Harriett Olson

Mary Magdalene is in a unique position to observe the resurrection. She journeyed with the women and with John (the beloved disciple) throughout the whole ordeal of the crucifixion. She also journeyed with the other women to the tomb early on that Sunday morning.

How blessed! Last to see Jesus alive (in the midst of terrible suffering) and first to see his post-resurrection appearance. How blessed to be the woman charged to testify to his resurrection! Have you ever been charged to do something amazing? Something beyond what you could imagine? Perhaps you can identify with Mary, a true boundary-breaker.

As a woman, she was not the person to whom the disciples would have likely turned to give testimony. According to Luke (8:2) she was a person more familiar with the blood and pain of life than with its triumphs. She is one of the few originally charged with telling this amazing story. Can we do less?

This broken world that is loved by God badly needs a surprise.

We yearn to find that we are worried about a stone blocking our access that has already been moved away.

We need a personal connection with someone we do not recognize (the gardener) who turns out to be Christ.

We badly need a personal connection with God--imagine what it was like to be called by name by Jesus! How amazing!

These barrier breaking, self-concept shattering, embracing experiences also call us to action. Like Mary we are called upon to testify. We also have a story to share as an eyewitness. We have experienced the love of God in profound and amazing ways. How powerful to be called to speak to the disciples! How amazing to be sent into the world to represent Christ—Christ crucified and Christ risen!

We are also called to action. Mary was charged to “go,” to “speak.” These were challenging directions in that time and place. Perhaps you and I have received challenging directions of our own. Perhaps we need to be open to the prompting of Jesus to go to a group (even a group that does not recognize our credentials) to testify to the love of God and the demands of justice in this time and place.

Eugene Peterson says (Jn. 20) that Mary went to the disciples saying, “I saw the Master.”

  • Where do you see the Master?
  • Where will you see Jesus this week?
  • Who will you tell?

Like Mary, you are catapulted into an experience of the risen Christ that is not only yours, but is also an account that the disciples need to hear. To whom are you sent with this story of personal experience and theological significance?

What a blessing it is to be called and equipped with an experience to share! How amazing to be face to face with Jesus—just as we are.

Dressed for work rather than worship.
Hurrying to carry out some task that needs to be completed.
Not prepared to encounter God.

Jesus calls her by name, bringing her full circle from grief into joy. How amazing that Jesus waits with each of us in just this same way…. waiting for us to see and recognize him and then helping us to work out what it really means—incarnation, death and resurrection.

Last Updated: 04/05/2010

© 2014 United Methodist Women