BANK HOLIDAY weekend affords a happy extension to “left brain time.” There are always more books I want to read, more paintings I want to paint, more photographs I want to make, more writing to be done, more poems to unfold, more prayer to be celebrated, more people to share some time and stories with, more songs to be sung, more colours to be marvelled at, more silence to be revelled in – than time ordinarily allows. And that very fact is cause for thanksgiving! Life is indeed a rich tapestry. The signs of the reign, the joy of God, are all around me. And I’m immensely thankful for the connections that blogging makes possible with people all around the world.

Today’s artwork is inspired, in Eastertide, by Mary Magdalene, beloved apostle of Jesus, first witness to new life in the Resurrection, loyal provider of intimate and loving support and sustenance, someone generous, open-hearted and giving, someone who just “knew” instinctively, what Jesus’ mission on earth was about, someone released, by God’s goodness, from the kind of prison every one of us finds ourselves in from time to time.

All human persons are “bedevilled” by “Legion” the perpetually underlying and taunting belief that somehow we’re failing to make the grade, we’re unlovable, bigger and better “failures” than anyone else, destined to be “alone”, faithless, heartbroken, misunderstood, wretched. All human persons yearn for the kind of release that Jesus’ love and acceptance brought about in Mary’s life; for the kind of release that she brought about in his.

Mary Magdalene: someone cruelly maligned and abused by religious patriarchy and misogyny across the centuries, but all the while someone I’ve admired and looked to as an icon of life’s richness and fullness, of life’s goodness and generosity, of life’s being – under the vivifying reign of God – a beautifully, colourfully, gorgeously dressed dance with our Creator.

Sydney Carter described Jesus as The Lord of the Dance. In my heart I think of Mary of Magdala as Jesus’ dance-partner and she is clothed, dressed, like the environment all around and about her, in colour and glory. And theirs is a partnership, theirs is a dance that, far from being exclusive and excluding, invites you and I to join. “Shall we dance?”, Mary asks. “And shall we sing?”, asks the Lord of the Dance. And sometimes the colours blur a little in the swirling. And sometimes they’re blended by our tears …

Have you seen the wonder of it? Have you seen Mary’s dress?

6 thoughts on “MARY’S DRESS

  1. Simon,
    This is a magical reflection. I love your closing paragraph. It echoes the nature of creation in Genesis 2, where God lovingly creates humankind to be in partnership with one another, and the earth. This is a reflection of rich imagery, loving words, and truly heart-wrenching concepts. If Our Lord were to be fully human, and yet fully divine, then he must have loved and been loved, just like us. I cannot adequately express how this blog post speaks into my heart. Thank-you.

  2. Mathew: thank you very much for taking the time to say so. I’ve just enjoyed a brief visit to your own blog and will return. The subject of the vital and necessary complementarity between female / male in God, and in us, and in all that God creates, is very dear to my heart. I sometimes think that some human persons – me amongst them sometimes – only live half-lives, failing to recognise the “other half” of themselves, not only in the more obvious relationships with “other” persons (of whatever gender), but the “other half” inside our / themselves. Yes, yes, yes to “echoes the nature of creation in Genesis 2.” And I guess that you and I would share the belief that it was and is “the heart wrenching concepts” set forth by Jesus of Nazareth that have caused our wanting to be disciples – continual, open-hearted, inclusive, well adjusted, fully alive, learners. Learning HOW to dance our own, personal and corporate dance with Life. Peace to you, Mathew, and thank you again for your kindness 🙂

  3. Yes, something about dancing to the beat of our own drum? When we answer “yes” to the invitation of hospitality from God, at the Eucharist for example, do we fully understand what it means in the entirety of our being? Do we understand what it means to “offer ourselves as a living sacrifice”, which is the closing prayer in the Australian Anglican Eucharist rite? Ah…just more questions. I suspect we would have a lot to talk about! Pax et lux.

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