4-14-17 - Good Friday: Mary of Magdala

Each day this week we will hear from one of the main characters in the Holy Week story, as I imagine they might speak. I hope this will help engage your own imagination as you walk this story with Jesus.

Mary of Magdala: My name is Mary. I’m from Magdala. I’m one of those women, one of those who followed Jesus from Galilee and helped take care of him and the disciples.

This man, this man they killed today? This man healed me. He set me free from the worst kind of bondage you can imagine. He cast out seven demons from me, who were torturing me. I didn’t think I’d ever get free of those voices, the constant chatter inside, telling me how worthless I was, how I’d be better off dead. He gave me back my life.

After that he was my life. I would have followed him anywhere. He was my Lord. So following him and tending to his needs and those of his disciples – what else could I do? The only thing that made sense now was serving him. He set me free, you see, and all I wanted to use my freedom for was to serve him.

That’s how it was for all of us – this motley collection of people who had been set free – from demons, from sin and degradation, some from blindness, crippling diseases; some from despair and loneliness and meaningless lives; some from greed and lust. Just a bunch of people who love him because of what he did for them. Fairly selfish kind of love, when you think about it. But it was real, it was real when you were with him. He made it real. He made us all able to love in a way we didn’t naturally know. (Pause.) And now he's gone.

So... now we have to bury him. I hear some guy from the Sanhedrin has given him a tomb. We’ll have to see to it. I guess it’s too late now to anoint him before the Sabbath begins. We’ll have to do it first thing Sunday morning…

I’d better find the others and see where they’re taking him.

Understanding what Jesus has given us helps to deepen our devotion to him. That can be easier when our spiritual story has a before/after conversion aspect. But even those of us who have grown up in this faith can discover who Jesus is to us, and uncover our deep need for the healing only he can bring. For Mary it came through redemption from spiritual bondage and emotional pain. What is it for you?

Wherever you are on that journey of discovery, whether or not you feel the freedom Mary and others experienced in Jesus’ love, pause today in prayer to give thanks for what is possible, and invite the Holy Spirit to make that knowledge more real and specific for you. That’s why we call this Good Friday.