The Wind Cries Mary - of Magdala: “Apostle to the Apostles" (first evangelist)

“The feminine spirit is rising deep in the hearts of creation, to heal our battered world and bring new life.”

--Mary Southard, CSJ, artist

July 22 – Feast day of Mary Magdalene


Correcting over 2,000 years of misinformation, I hope you’ll be able to see that Mary is NOT the “sinner” that anointed Jesus feet with oil and wiped them with her hair. Instead, she is, as St. Augustine called her – “The apostle to the apostles.” She was the only recorded person to remain with Jesus from the cross to the grave and from the grave to the garden tomb on that First Day of the Week.


This week, Richard Rohr is focusing on this courageous woman who has been relegated to the backrooms of church history. In her place, the front stage has been given to men – who didn’t go all the way with Jesus in his hour of need, abandoning him for the safety of the upper room.

Mary chose the lower room – at the foot of his execution station and outside the tomb that could not contain him. For her faithfulness, she was rewarded with being chosen as the first person the Risen Teacher appeared to on that first day of the week.

He whispered her name, “Mary.”



Above: Artist Janet McKenzie’s portrayal of Mary Magdalene alongside Jesus

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations – Weekly Theme: Mary Magdalene

--above image used as the banner image for this week’s meds (Rx’s)

Love and Knowing Become One Sunday, July 19, 2020

Go Back to the Gospels Monday, July 20, 2020

She Does Not Run Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Faithful to the End Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Great Love Thursday, July 23, 2020

Come and See Friday, July 24, 2020

Click here for the weekly summary & contemplative practice.

In Tuesday’s meditation, Richard notes: “[1] Though it may seem like a small victory to some, I think it’s significant that in 2016 Pope Francis decreed that Mary Magdalene’s feast day, July 22, is “to be ‘celebrated’ liturgically like the rest of the apostles.” See https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2016/06/10/160610c.html.

Janet McKenzie – Artist

Janet McKenzie artist – Home Page


Hope – video shows her artwork being used to raise awareness of current social issues

--see “Liberation Theology” below


Her “Jesus of the People” project





McKenzie’s portrayal of Jesus as a black man (above) got her death threats. William Paul Young was similarly criticized for his depiction of G-d as a black woman in his classic book “The Shack.”


Art can bypass our overly-opinionated & defended minds & penetrate our souls







So far, I haven’t been treated the same as McKenzie, Young and other artists for my artistic interpretation of Jamaican Jesus in my post about Jesus as a musician:


“I Must be about my Father’s Business” – if Jesus’ dad was a Musician





That said, I WAS censured for an email I sent to some church folks in which I portrayed Jesus praying in full lotus position.



Question: You’re a Sunday school teacher in a foreign land. How else would you present the Prophet, the Divine Lover, to local souls, including children? If he is to be accepted, it’ll help if he looks like one of them.

FYI – I looked online and was not able to find a dark-skinned version of the above.

Artists know what Paul knew when he said that he wanted to be all things to all people (1 Cor. 9). The Kingdom of G-d is like…a lotus blossom…

Jesus and Krishna




Jesus and Ganesha



“If you’re hungry, I’ll come to you as bread and feed you with my very self.”

--Jesus & Gandhi



For more on unconventional sacred imagery, see my Holy Thursday post:


Holy Thursday - Do WHAT in memory of me?

“What if it’s simply to be together around the dinner table, perhaps a last meal together for a particular family member, who might be going away to school or moving to another state to start a new job, or getting married, or dealing with a serious illness, or……………..?”

Vulnerable Masculinity: Kitchen Table Spirituality

As a young man at parties, I often gravitated to the kitchen to hang out with the women. As I remember it, they seemed to go deeper than the macho world us guys inhabited.

By deeper I mean able to be vulnerable enough to express the things that were troubling, stuff we hadn’t figured out and were wrestling with. Women seemed to do this naturally. Thankfully, through the years, I did find a few guys that were comfortable in these scary and culturally off-limits places for men.

One of these safe places to be the vulnerable warrior with an exposed Achilles heel is in the groups to which I belong as part of the Illuman men’s organization – a male spirituality process that grew out of the pioneering men’s work of Richard Rohr.

You can read more about this on my website.

Jimi Hendrix (& Tom) on Mary Magdalene

The Wind Cries Mary – Jimi Hendrix

Knowing that Jimi wrote a poem about Mary (see “The Story of Life” further down), I re-listened to his “The Wind Cries Mary” and offer some reflections [in brackets] for your consideration…

THE WIND CRIES MARY

After all jacks are in their boxes

And the clowns have all gone to bed

You can hear happiness staggering on down the street

Footprints dressed in red

[the religious and political leaders (“clowns”, “jacks”) with bloodstained feet are rejoicing that their “problem” (Jesus) has been eliminated]

And the wind whispers Mary

[“wind” is a common metaphor for Spirit – here the Spirit whispers her name]

A broom is drearily sweeping

Up the broken pieces of yesterday's life

Somewhere a queen is weeping

Somewhere a king has no wife

[“broken pieces of yesterday's life: the old – Mary’s & everyone else’s - has gone, the new is about to be risen…]

[“queen” could be Pilate’s wife who, after having a dream about Jesus, sends Pilate a message urging the ruler to release him]

And the wind, it cries Mary

[“Cries” – a now more forceful Spirit utterance…Mary hears it in her heart of hearts…and waits…]

The traffic lights they turn a blue tomorrow

And shine their emptiness down on my bed

The tiny island sags downstream

'Cause the life that they lived is dead

[“'Cause the life that they lived is dead” – a rephrasing of “broken pieces of yesterday’s life” – the new life of the risen Jesus replaces what came before – the old life]

And the wind screams Mary

[“screams” – Spirit is even more forceful, more demanding…more inviting…and Mary waits…by the tomb…]

Will the wind ever remember?

The names it has blown in the past

And with its crutch, its old age and its wisdom

It whispers "no, this will be the last"

And the wind cries Mary

[Over 2,000 years of history – and the winds of time - attest that because of Mary’s courage and faithfulness, her carrying of Jesus’ message to the apostles, that, “YES, this will NOT be the end of this message of love and reconciliation]

[finally, recognizing the person she thought to be the gardener, Mary’s eyes receive Jesus’ loving gaze, as he gently whispers her name…]

Let me know what you think of these reflections…

On the night before he died…he took paper and blessed it with words…words that he never got to sing…Jimi’s farewell poem – “The Story of Life”

These would be Jimi's last lyrics - composed in London, 17th of September 1970 – the night before he died. Later, Curtis Knight, who co-wrote songs with Jimi, recorded a version of “The Story of Life.”

The Story of Life – by Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight. A Prophetic But Long-Forgotten Song

The Story of Life - Jimi Hendrix

THE STORY OF LIFE

The story of Jesus

So easy to explain

After they crucified him,

A woman, she claimed his name

The story of Jesus

The whole Bible knows

Went all across the desert

And in the middle, he found a rose

There should be no questions

There should be no lies

He was married ever happily after

All the tears we cry

No use in arguing

All the use to the man that moans

When each man falls in battle

His soul it has to roam

Angles of heaven

Flying saucers to some,

Made Easter Sunday

The name of the rising sun

The story is written

By so many people who dared,

To lay down the truth

To so very many who cared

To carry the cross

Of Jesus and beyond

We will guide the light

This time with a woman in our arms

We as men

Can't explain the reason why

The woman's always mentioned

At the moment that we die

All we know

Is God is by our side,

And he says the word

So easy yet so hard

I wish not to be alone,

So I must respect my other heart

Oh, the story

Of Jesus is the story

Of you and me

No use in feeling lonely,

I am searching to be free

The story

Of life is quicker

Than the wink of an eye

The story of love

Is hello and goodbye

Until we meet again

Mary in songs and a movie

Go Tell the World (Mary Magdalene's Song) – Philippa Hanna

--be sure to read the songwriter’s testimony

Lights of Magdala – Kris Kristofferson

Mary Magdalene Movie Trailer

Regardless of its historical accuracy, this portrayal shows a courageous woman facing her fears and the social restrictions her society imposed on her because she was a woman.

As I’ve written before, the literal, black & white versions of sacred texts can only take us so far. To go deeper into the heart level of Mysteries, we need the help of mystics who offer themselves as artists, writers, sculptors, poets, musicians and other storytellers.

“The Kingdom of G-d is like…”

…a musician looking for his soul…


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