Mary Magdalene Isn’t Who You Think She Is

MaryMaProbably not, anyway.

Today, in the Episcopal church, we celebrate the life of Mary Magdalene, a woman of controversy who lived a life of legendary proportions. But who was she really? And does it really matter?

Some say she was a prostitute, some say she was a virtuous woman her whole life. Was she the same woman who poured oil on Jesus’ feet? Did she present the first Easter egg to the Emperor Tiberius and was that story all it was cracked up to be? Was she married to Jesus? Did she write the Gospel of John? Does it really matter? Would Mary have us focus on the controversy of her life’s story or would she point the way to Jesus? If she wants to be remembered at all, would she want to be remembered for anything but her love?

Whatever your life story is, whatever sins you have committed or been accused of committing, whatever great deeds you have accomplished and whatever tales have great courage have been spun about you, does any of that matter? Isn’t your love your story?


~ by Kimberly Mason on July 22, 2009.

9 Responses to “Mary Magdalene Isn’t Who You Think She Is”

  1. This is an excellent post, friend. In my senior year at seminary I did a paper on MM, going back to the gnostic Gospels and finding some very interesting stuff. Came away from it liking her so much! And, BTW, I hated DaVinci Code and its entire premise.

  2. You hit a nerve with this one! I watched a biography on Mary Magdalene about 6 years ago. Now the Roman church acknowledges that she was not a prostitute. (I cannot begin to tell you how angry I was that she had been portrayed that way – and mostly because of her devotion to Jesus and the fear of early church leaders.) I find it interesting that Peter was jealous of her (Gospel of Mary). Mary was probably the best disciple of Jesus in the early church. Whether or not she was married to Jesus is movie fodder. I think the most important thing to recognize about Mary Magdalene is that she was devoted to Christ and his message.

  3. One of my favorite fantasies about the real Mary Magdalene was from the book “Gospel” by Wilton Barnhardt. She’s not a main character, but in the book she’s an Abbess in the desert after the crucifixion. It’s a REALLY long read (over 700 pages) & irreverent & faith-affirming at the same time – and it gives an image of a person living out Christ in the world. And isn’t that what we need to take from her story & apply to our own?

  4. Wouldn’t you love to make this into a quilt. Absolutely beautiful.

  5. I adore the last line of your post, that our love is our story. Wow, I need to reflect on that and celebrate the idea of it!

    MM is one of my favorite people in history. I almost chose to be ordained on this feast day so that she could get some improved “press”, but in the end, went with the nativity of John the Baptist (a scheduling issue). Anyway, I’m so glad that more and more is being done to look beyond the old “tradition” of how the Church portrayed her to the stories that point to her living faith. An amazing role model.

    And I adore this quilt!

  6. Mary Magdelene. yes. I get her. Deep down get. I studied her out of the curiosity of “Is what they say true?” then became full throttle captivated. Man…to be her…

    And hey great artwork. sent the link to the artsy fartsy husband.

  7. I love this post. Yes–she would want to be remembered for her love, and God wants us all to be that way…to see our ability to love and our efforts to show it in all its forms as the most important aspects of our lives.

    I also love what you wrote about your “vocation” (it sounds as if you’re already “good at it”), and I love your home!! I went to college in Portland in the ’80’s, and also had a view of Mt. St. Helen’s–although the view changed a bit when she erupted (leaving everything around us covered in white ash that looked like snow on everything)!



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