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Sister Resisters – Mary, Mary, and their Morality Bomb

Given the season, we thought it only appropriate to name Mary – THAT Mary – and Mary Magdalene as this week’s Sister Resisters.  After all, would it be possible to find two women who, thrust together by circumstance, had a greater impact on the human population and its ethical direction than these two?  Like the early cartoon anarchists depicted throwing round black grenades with smoking fuses, they heaved their own disruptive explosive, a morality bomb, in the form of a brave, thoughtful, profoundly ethical man.  Imbued with a divine guidance and an obvious desire and sense of mission to improve the lot of all humanity, he changed the world.   The Sisters think this happened largely because his momma raised him right, and because one of the few women in his adult crew kept him on the path when the outlook was bleakest.

Imagine Mary as that young, scared 14 year old girl, unmarried, pregnant, and with a really old boyfriend.  Either she has to think fast and sell a plausible explanation, or she has to control her terror at the thought of carrying a powerful deity inside her while managing the normal fear of all women at the thought of delivery (and without the modern blessing of a four nerve block).  Plus hoping she herself is not consumed by divine fire when the day of delivery arrives.  Whatever your personal interpretation of what exactly happened, the situation was an extreme pressure cooker.

After the manger scene, it didn’t get easier.  You start your motherhood with a nut autocrat hunting both you and your child with murder in his heart.  Then you find yourself, as many parents do, raising a head-strong son who frequently won’t listen because he thinks he knows everything.  Every time you turn around, he’s wandering off to start arguments with rabbis, picking fights with pharisees.

The Marys of Our World

Your husband is completely exasperated – his son never sticks to his tasks in the woodshop and has little interest in the family business.  Like Farmer Bob’s mother (Margaret), favorite aunt (Mary), grandmother (Marguerite), mother-in-law (Marietta), we can hear Mary’s voice down through the ages, admonishing bad behavior, consoling emotional and physical hurts, and patiently, repeatedly explaining that the other children will share and be nice to you if you are nice to them.  She slowly teaches her son to lead by example, to gain buy-in and cooperation by a soft line and empathy rather than demands and force.  What a smart, smart lady, endlessly patient and supportive.

Mary Magdalene

As a grown man, The One is lucky enough to fall in with Mary Magdalene, a friend, perhaps a girlfriend or even wife if you are a devotee of the DaVinci Code.  Either way, by all indications a concerned, kind, caring companion during the most difficult period of his short life.  Without her probable gentle voice, gentle touch and unwavering support, would he ever have steeled himself to see it through?  And how brave must she have been, a woman in a time not known for its kindness towards women, openly hitching her wagon to a star, a revolutionary in a cause bound to be crushed by the might of Rome.  We choose to believe the Magdalene was with him during that long night in Gethsemane, side by side, hand in hand.  Simply, that is what women like this would do.

What a lucky, lucky man.  Merry Christmas.

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