|The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene, Alexander Ivanov, c.1835 Source: WikiArt|
Don't tempt me!
Depending on how you read the painting, 'Don't tempt me!' could be a caption under Ivanov's painting of The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene.
That is not the message conveyed by the bishop of Bangor who preached at a service for the feast day of Mary Magdalene, live from Bangor Cathedral on Sunday 22 July 2018. He emphasised these points:
- We know very little about Mary Magdalene.
- She is mentioned in the gospels at least 12 times.
- Often depicted in the past as a 'loose woman', we now recognise that label as wrong.
- She is one of the most loyal followers of Jesus witnessing his ministry, his crucifixion and his resurrection life.
- She is, perhaps, the best example in the Gospels of how love transforms everything.
"How love transforms everything"!
🎜All you need is love🎝 has become the anthem of Western Anglicanism. Today's Golden Calf. Rather than our traditional understanding of God's redeeming love it has become a means of absolving all manner of excess.
Bishop Andy referred to Mary Magdalene as "someone from whom evil spirits had been driven. She was a tormented person. She might have described her life as being ‘out of control’ or unsustainable....The Christian faith is good news for people like us. Because it begins with the conviction that God loves us. This love isn’t founded on the merits of our lives or the choices we’ve made or make. It’s simply in the nature of God whose love is inexhaustible and inextinguishable."
Of course God's love is inexhaustible and inextinguishable but it makes no sense to use the example of someone "we know very little about" as justification for re-writing our understanding of Scripture.
Developing his theme +Andy said, "There is an irony that the women, those compelled to silence in public life, are now compelled to tell the ground-breaking news of the resurrection. Today it’s easy for us to miss the offense, scandal and drama of this in the ancient world. Women! The ones who had no voice, few rights and fewer privileges now elevated to the highest place. It’s as though we’re meant to see that all who feel on the margins, outsiders, are the very ones whom God calls and draws." [My emphasis -Ed.]
Ah, yes! Minorities rule.
The emphasis placed on the elevation of Mary Magdalene to the position of ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ included a reading of the poem ‘They have taken away my Lord’ by Janet Morley leaving the impression that the whole point of the service was to justify the rise of feminism in the Church in Wales and all the free love baggage that arrived with it.
Pity really. It spoilt an otherwise enjoyable service but that is the Church in Wales today.