Live from 9:30 on Sunday morning
26 July 2020
The Seventh Sunday after Trinity
The Meaning of Life: Week Two
He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
`They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.
by Malcolm Guite
Blessings on the feast of the great Apostle and Saint Mary Magdalene
Did you know there is a Gospel of Mary. In this gnostic gospel, Mary Magdalene appears as a disciple, singled out by Jesus for special teachings. In this excerpt, the other disciples are discouraged and grieving Jesus’ death. Mary stands up and attempts to comfort them, reminding them that Jesus’ presence remains with them. It was found in a Cairo bazaar in 1896,by a German scholar who happened to come across a curious papyrus book. Bound in leather and written in Coptic, this was the Gospel of Mary. Like the books found at Nag Hammadi, the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene is also considered an apocryphal text.
Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity — yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus’ original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.
An extract from a homily by St Gregory the Great:
‘Mary Magdalene loved Jesus, the Truth, and so washed away with her tears the stains of wickedness. Jesus said,” Her many sins have been forgiven her, because she loved much.” After the Resurrection, she came to the tomb and failed to find the body of the Lord there. The disciples came, saw, and went away. Mary Magdalene stood outside the sepulchre weeping. When even the disciples departed, she did not depart. She sought him whom she had not found, weeping as she searched. Inflamed with the fire of her love, she burned with desire for him who she believed had been taken away. So it happened that she who stayed behind to seek him was the only one who saw him. Surely, the essence of every good work is perseverance.’
So, reflecting on the example of strong faith and perseverance seen in Mary Magdalene we pray:
Lord we thank you for the example of steadfast, wholehearted love for you,
that we see in Mary Magdalene.
We are deeply grateful that her experience assures us of this wonderful truth — that, if we
acknowledge our sins and are truly contrite,
and if we love you with our whole heart,
you do not withhold your forgiveness from us, whatever we have to confess to you.
In her heart she knew that you would not have abandoned her and the other disciples,
and so she looked for you and waited for you
and was rewarded for the persistence of her love and trust.
May we love like her, seek like her, and wait trustfully like her.
We ask this for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ
For Your Prayers this week
Please find a quiet place and begin with one or two conscious breaths
Becoming present still and open
Thank God for Ceation and creativity
For its beauty and expression of Love
Thank God for music and for poetry – for God’s voice through human understanding
Thank God for His faithfulness to you, to all things ,sustaining all in all
Thank God for this love that undergirds and infuses
Thank God for the people who whispered a confirmation of God’s presence to you
Thank God for the great Saints and the expression of love in their lives
Thank God today for Mary of Magdalene
For her wisdom, her courage, her unwavering love
Her life and her death
Her work, her community and the Gospels she inspired
Pray for all women who have been maligned, misused and misrepresented
That they will find the strength of Mary of Magdala
Pray for those in desperate need
For the hungry children in our community
For those people who are held in slavery in Norfolk
For those who are oppressed
For those who have lost hope
Pray for the sick among us
For Pat, for a full recovery and for strengthening
Pray for those who are mourning – peace and hope
For Elizabeth as she grieves her mother
For the Grooms as they grieve the loss of Jackie
And with them we give thanks for the life of those who have died
Pray for your family God’s blessing and God’s protection – and give thanks for them
Pray for yourself
For a more and more whole, ordinary humble and holy way of living