Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mary the disciple.

Joy of joys tomorrow is dedicated to Mary Magdalene! Its not just that she was a female disciple of Jesus...its that I can use some of the lost books of the Bible as well as the words of John....
When I was an ordinand I met a wonderful Catholic priest on one of my holidays. He taught me a great deal and I found when I got home and googled him that he had written some wonderful books many of which I still use.
As a Bible scholar he had worked in the Vatican at various times and had access to the translations of the Dead Sea scrolls and the Nag Hammidi library...They were all he told me genuine in terms of when they were written but no one could be sure that the author was who it was purported to be.  So the gospel of Mary may have been written by another Mary or someone quite different.
The gospel of Peter was different however...They had always known it existed but it remained lost until its discovery in 1886 in an old monastery in Egypt.  Bible scholars are convinced on this really is the gospel of Peter.
To read from the gospel of Mary and then from the gospel of Peter is a remarkable thing to do and it does certainly suggest that maybe Mary had been sidelined by the early church fathers when they escaped Jerusalem and fled to Rome..
Both Peter and Paul had been brought up as Orthodox Jews... where a womans place was in the home...but there are good reasons for believing that Mary had been a disciple of Jesus.  And if that was true then surely many of the arguments about women clergy today are demonstrably invalid.
My friend Joe was certain that one day women would be accepted into the Roman church...It is fascinating to imagine what might have happened if Mary had also escaped to Rome and been part of the setting up of the first church........except that she was not allowed in then....and the repercussions from that are still with us today.
Tomorrow I will celebrate Mary Magdalene with great pleasure ....I am sure that the finding of all these scrolls after hundreds of years being lost is an act of God....still trying to bring us into the light. Alleluia!

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