Friday, April 10, 2009

The Irony

My 3 oldest children & I spent a bit of our afternoon yesterday talking about the meaning of Easter.  I was very proud that they knew why we celebrated Easter & the Easter Bunny was merely an extra element to get them treats & candy, hahahaha.  But, it got me thinking about how I celebrate Easter.  I check off the to do items on my list: Get Candy - Get Baskets - Get Treats - Plan out Easter Bunny Arrival - etc.  My mother-in-law & I briefly spoke of it & how many other religions have week long activites & ways to remember Christ & rejoice for his sacrifice for us.  Our religion, however, doesn't do this.  I think they leave it up to us.  So, what was I to do? How could I bring myself closer to the idea & reason for our Easter celebrations?  

This morning I was sent my daily e-mail from Meridian Magazine, a site I highly recommend, it has great LDS contributors that write articles on many different topics both religious & not.  This particle article was titled, The Irony of Gesthmane, the Cross & the Garden Tomb.  I can be an emotional person but often when I read of the Savior's journey into the city & then into crucifixion, I feel great sorrow, but do not shed tears.  I do not shed tears because I know he knew his role & his strength in overcoming brought to mind a child running in a race & you stand on the sidelines saying, "Go! You can do it! I believe in You!"  He knew he had the Father with Him & that He was fulfilling the prophecies spoken of for many years.  He chose this role.  Where I do shed tears is when he appears to Mary & she not realizing at first who He is.  The moment He speaks her name, "Mary,"  she knows.  This is where the tears flow freely.  

Here is the part of the article that really touched me:

It could have been any one of us.(referring to Mary being at the tomb at that moment). He chose to reveal himself first to a single individual and in that moment taught the world that the Atonement is utterly personal. He made it universal to all, but he did so by making it intimate to each one of us, as he did to Mary. It is universal one soul at a time. To my mind, it is utterly inevitable that the greatest story ever told should finally culminate and convey to the world in the sound of this single word, a person's name.

How quickly fortunes can change for the worse, and how quickly, on the other hand, fortunes can change for the better. In Luke, we read that by the end of the first Sunday after the crucifixion, just the third day after the Savior's death, he had appeared to Mary Magdalene at the Garden Tomb, and then to other women of Galilee, and he had appeared to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus, and when these two returned to Jerusalem that evening to join the apostles, they were told that Christ had also appeared to Simon Peter. Three of these witnesses were identified by name, Mary, Cleopas, and Simon, and perhaps a dozen more were unnamed. And then Jesus suddenly stood in the midst of them, the apostles and others, and said “Peace be unto you.” Luke 24:36.

It may seem ridiculous but I struggle with a selfish feeling that our religion does not focus enough on women & I'm not talking about how we have Relief Society & Young Women's or how we are recognized in many ways by apostles & prophets & those around us.  I struggle with the fact that so much of what we learn was of men, written by men, experienced by men.  Thank goodness for sections of scriptures, like Ruth, to give me some hope.  But, it had been on my mind a lot lately, especially after returning to the temple after so long.  I didn't feel the message personal to me, as a woman.  Then to read the account of Mary at the tomb & how she was the first Jesus chose to present himself to & that he then visited other women of Galilee & then to the men.  I was overrun with emotion.  I put myself in that place & I could more easily do that because Mary was a woman.  And I tried to imagine her reaction, her feelings, her gratitude & joy & I felt washed in the Spirit.  

Why Mary? Why a woman? I thought about this for quite a while & my personal feelings are that we, as women, can feel love greater than any man. Only a woman can know another woman's sorrow at losing a child, just as Jesus' mother, Mary did.  Oh the sorrow she must have felt to see her Son so horribly treated, to know she would no longer have him near her to love and to protect. Oh the wonder Mary Magdalene must have felt at the tomb to see her Christ before her, not dead, but alive.  While Jesus prayed, seeming to bleed at every pore, the apostles slept.  A woman would see his anguish & want to run to Him to comfort Him, to help Him.  

How lucky I am to be a woman.  

1 comment:

Amy Beth said...

Thank you so much for sharing that, what a beautiful thought, and what a great thing to think about this Easter weekend.