Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” (John 20:16-17)
In the gospels of Matthew, John, and the longer ending of Mark, Mary Magdalene is the first to see the risen Christ, who commissions her to tell the other disciples the good news. In almost all the lists of women who followed Jesus, she is named first. Through the centuries, in the Western church she has been the object of misconceptions about her life and her relationship to Jesus. Now we recover her role as leader among Jesus’ followers and as witness to the resurrection. Like Moses’ sister, she came running with the good news that the one who had been given up for dead was restored to life.
Sunday Worship Music
Our Hymn of the Day is “For All the Faithful Women” (ELW 419). The flipside to last week’s hymn of the day (Faith of our Fathers), today we praise God for all the faithful women who have shaped the faith. Today’s festival celebration, and our hymn of the day, of Mary Magdalene joys in her witness to the resurrection.
In New Day this week we will sing “In Christ Alone” as our worship song, and give voice to the lyrics “In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song” words that Mary Magdalene would have fully understood, also.
Mary on the Edges
For Further Reflection
What images come to mind when you hear the name Mary Magdalene?
What do you think about the listing In Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) of Mary Magdalene as an “apostle”?
Can you see your life reflected in the life of Mary … in her witness to the risen Christ outside the empty tomb … or in other moments of her life?