I’m on a quest of discovery. And I’m after everything my friend might know.
“Well, she’s a really pious woman.”
Yeah. My thoughts exactly.
Almost without exception, her contemporaries thought differently.
For after all, she was the girl who’d been robbed of parents before she was ready to stand on her own, and had subsequently turned to find love where it can never be found. She was the one who, whether intentionally or accidentally, had thrown away her innocence, her youth, her purity, her piety in the crime-soaked business of human flesh for sale. And to boot, seven times she’d bowed to the dark side, and become a currier for the worst kind of darkness.
But then, then there was that awful day when she was caught in the act… Dragged from the bed to the street, and thrown in a cowering heap before the Lord of Glory.
And there was that beautiful moment when her broken shame, her stripped-bare necessity, appeared in the shadow of the undiluted Love of Infinite Eternity.
And she got it.
She got it.
Of course the pharisees would always maintain that Jesus regularly ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at a prostitute’s house.
Of course they’d say that what was could never be fully erased.
Of course, we say the same of others. We say the same of ourselves.
You know, that a crippling past must necessarily have a strong effect on one’s usefulness future. That this girl should never know as she might, what it is to trust. Or that, at the very least, it might take a lifetime to learn. And love? Well…
Yes. We often say those things.
And of course, there is an element of truth to them.
But there’s a reason this girl named Mary (which name means “Rebellious,” by the way) is my new favorite Bible character.
Because her story is the story of the power of grace to overcome, and to turn my past into my greatest advantage.
Let me gently remind the world that the home she shared with her big brother and sister was the place Jesus always came to when it was time to rest. That these were, apart from His very own, His best friends on earth. And that after her turning, this girl gained eyes for things everyone else missed.
Because the brokenness of her past was the richest possible backdrop for the truth about Grace, and the power of Love.
Remember that in the midst of the noise of a traditional Jewish party, while everyone was consumed by the festivities, one girl had the presence of mind to anointed her Lord for burial. That when everyone else was consumed with the protocol, this one girl sat at the feet of the Desire of the Ages, and watched Him, all ears, all eyes, all heart.
Remember that on that dark friday, she was there. When they carried Him to the tomb, she was there.
And let me remind you that on resurrection morning, Jesus appeared to one, and only one friend. And that friend was neither Peter, James, nor John.
Her name was Mary.
And she was a former prostitute.
I can’t help but wonder, might it be because she understood something about Love that everybody else missed?
And might that be because God makes “all things work together for good…”?
“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Ro. 5:20
Shoes kiss the pavement over and over. Rhythm of breathing and stride. We push miles behind us one at a time, while the truth is soaked in silence.
And I? I’m so taken.
“So, you see why this story, this girl . . .”. . .