Church Stuff-More or less

Does the church make sense or do we make it too hard for people to come in? I think yes and yes and the task then is to make it easier. Maybe for someone out there, this will be the case. I write as a Lutheran (or, perhaps a Lutherpalian) although I might seem out of the mainstream from time to time. That's okay, isn't it? Let's blog on.

My Photo
Location: Northport, Long Island, United States

Contrary to what Google will tell you, I have been blogging for several year, right here. Look for Churchstuff-moreorless. life was a hell of a lot easier when you could talk to someone to get help. Now, you can't do it on the telephone, you can't do it on the internet. Life was easier and made more sense because people actually cared. Now they will screw you as quickly as they will help you. Unfuck the world.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Feast of Mary of Magdala

"O God, our desire, you formed us in our mother's womb, and call us by our name. In the compassion of our suffering presence may we know, as Mary Magdalen knew, that you can make our violated bodies vessels of love. In the strangeness of human attraction we put our trust in you, knowing that we may live with you forever." Amen

Today, the church remembers Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, perhaps the "beloved disciple" of the Gospels. She was the first to believe and proclaim the Resurrection of her Lord yet the unbelief of the other disciples was but a foreshadowing of the rejection which the Church would hurl her way. Misunderstood, misinterpreted, mistreated, largely by a misogynist church dominated by patriarchal voices. It has taken many centuries to "rehabilitate" Mary although even today there are those who continue to see her as a prostitute and a threat to traditional understandings of the Gospel.

While Dan Brown may have restored her to the forefront in his "DaVinci Code" there are times when I fear that he only muddied the waters. We don't know anymore about her than we knew before and the debate over whether or not Mary was more than a disciple to Jesus obscures the facts as we know them. Jesus exorcises seven demons from Mary, the Gospel tells us and most understand this to mean that Mary had been possessed by the "Devil" and Jesus freed her. I would like to think that what the writer meant was that the "daemons" were really Mary's chakras and that he had to make them orderly if she was to have a role in his ministry and Resurrection. I suppose that, this side of paradise, we will never know for sure but it is obvious that Jesus had special things in mind for her. And why not, for it is only she of all of the disciples who understood his words and his purpose.

I also think that Jesus' final admonition to Mary has been misinterpreted by the church over the years. "Noli me tangere" is understood to mean that Mary is not to touch him but I think that it means "do not cling to me" because the body which you once knew has been changed, do not cling to the old but embrace the new.
And so Mary does, she runs from the Garden and tells the others of his Resurrection. A woman, perhaps one who was once outcast, is the first to preach the Good News of Jesus' resurrection.
We know little of Mary's activities after this. The church shunts her off into relative obscurity and rejects the gnostic writings attributed to her in one bold stroke with all other gnostic writings as though none of them will enable us to better comprehend who and/or what Jesus was.
On this feast day of Mary of Magdala, I invite you to seek out her Gospel, perhaps some of the legends concerning her and expand your mind and your faith.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beannachd Dia Dhuit (Blessings of God Be With You)

May the blessing of light be on you - light without and light within.

May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,

so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.

And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,

like a candle set in the window of a house,

bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you,

may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,

and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,

and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing of the earth be on you,

soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,

soft under you as you lie out on it,

tired at the end of day; and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.

May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly;

up and off and on its way to God.

And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly.

A Scottish blessing