Whilst I put on the coffee and work out the "maybe" of that last post in the murky, sore and somewhat bewildered bits of my brain, there are some things I want to say. This is one of them.
India and I read the story of John the Baptist's beheading the other day, and when we were done she said, "Momma, why are all the women in the bible bad?" Now, like I've said before, my baby loves herself some bible. We read it like mad, and we've read through five children's bibles front to back and some more than once, so the kid's getting the whole story. She knows about Ruth and Esther and Naomi and Mary and the other Mary and whatever other secondary ladies might show up to drive tent pegs into sleeping heads or rescue spies on the run, or sleep with their father, (alright, maybe we didn't read that story) and still she asks me why all the women are bad.
This Easter, as I read through the story of Holy Week, the crucifixion and the resurrection my heart sat most with Mary Magdalene - Mary of the seven demons cast out; Mary of one at the foot of the cross. There is that sweet, sweet moment at the empty tomb when this woman, whose heart has been saved by this kind God-also-man, begs for the body of Jesus, and she is weeping as she stands there it says. Either she is weeping so hard that she can not see Jesus before her, or she is blinded by other means, but when Jesus says her name she at once knows that it's him and grabs hold until he says that he needs to leave her.
After, Mary runs to tell the disciples about seeing Jesus, "but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." And so, the story goes on, and the disciples see Jesus themselves, and believe in the resurrection, and belittle poor Thomas who did not without seeing, but as for Mary - Mary of the cross, and Mary of the resurrection, we hear no more. But I would like to know some things, the kind of things that women talk about while drying dishes or chopping vegetables or folding laundry, mainly, how she survived the losing after his appearing, what it was like to be loved so purely, what her name sounded like in his mouth.
I have, at times, doubted a faith that has kept one half of its believers silent for thousands of years, and I mourn the loss of those stories that would speak to a woman's heart in the way that only those stories could, but what I thought of mostly this Easter was of the eternal patience of a God who allowed, and still allows humanity to find and shape its self. "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," speaks to me not so much of our power to affect heaven, but of the shocking reality that God has allowed us to wield any power at all. We bind, we loose, and so we shape our faith and the future of our faith with justice or injustice, sexism or equality, in God's image or in our own, and in so doing we shape forever our ability to see and know and taste the fullness of God.