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Speaking to the Soul: Staying in the Scene

Speaking to the Soul: Staying in the Scene

Feast of Mary Magdalene

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 116 (morning) // 30, 149 (evening)
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Mark 15:47-16:7

Many years ago, I lived and worked with two other women. We were supposed to be living as a Christian “intentional community,” and we were all involved full-time in service at a school. We did not get along, to say the least. I look back on that year as my loneliest, as the time that I felt the least capable of loving and the least worthy of love.

Today’s gospel was an incredible comfort to me during that time. The passage takes place after the crucifixion of Jesus, and two women are watching to see where his body is laid to rest. After waiting through the sabbath day, three women prepare to give Jesus’ body the honor and care that it deserves. As the gospel tells us, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that that they might go and anoint him.”

I remember reading this passage during my painful year, and I suddenly pictured these three women, all carrying spices and preparing to tend the body of Jesus, as the two women I lived with and myself. Like these three women, we were all carrying grief and pain over our failure to fulfill an ideal of community. But tending to the body of Jesus gave these women something to do, and something to do together.

This sense of us in a scene from the gospel certainly didn’t resolve our differences, or prompt reconciliation. But it did help me to stay present, because I suddenly felt that Christ was present as well. And as I stayed present, I learned to hope for something better. May the gospel always help us to stay present in the scenes of our lives, ready for Christ to show up as well.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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