The Gospel of Matthew

This devotional is written by Hannah Gittos. Hannah is an actor/director/writer. She has been part of the community at St Mary's for 14 years.

Matthew 28:1-15

Jesus has risen

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." Now I have told you.'

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. 'Greetings,' he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'

The guards' report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, 'You are to say, "His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep." 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.' 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Reflection

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the brilliant podcast, "Grounded" with Louis Theroux. He was interviewing the artist FKA Twigs whose latest album is inspired by the life and work of Mary Magdalene. Twigs speaks about how much she was drawn to this extraordinary person and asks, considering the place she holds in history why is relatively so little known about her?

So, what does this particular passage tell us about the woman placed at the epicentre of Jesus's story?

We read that "Mary and the other Mary hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy". Fear and joy seem to be such juxtaposing emotions. The intensity of which can feel overwhelming, holding us in a place of hesitancy and uncertainty. Not these women. They are confident and courageous with an obvious sense of clarity. Despite feeling afraid of the unknown they "run to tell the disciples" that Jesus has risen.

As an artist, I often experience a conflicting concoction of emotions when implementing a new idea or beginning a creative process. Fear, excitement and resistance can keep me held in a space of unnecessary stagnation. However, I've learnt that often when I'm experiencing this overwhelming intensity, I'm moving in the precise direction aligned with God's particular and unique intention for me.

Like Mary and Mary, having faith in God's purpose for us isn't easy. Listening and following where he wants us to go takes tenacity and trust. Even though Mary and Mary didn't have social media to contend with, the expectations at this time of what their role should be in society would have been oppressive and dominating. They choose not to be influenced by this. Instead, they quieten the white noise and move forward, fully inhabiting their calling to working with and serving him.


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