Sunday, September 14, 2008

Be like Mary Magdalene

I wanted to add a few thoughts to my last posting about dancing John 20:1-18: the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb on Easter morning. I didn't wax poetic enough on Dan LeMonnier's song, "Begin Again." What a wonderful synergy to collaborate with a musician who I had just met who happened to have written (and recorded) a song inspired by the same passage that I was dancing!

I absolutely LOVE the line, "Be like Mary. Do not cling to what has been."

Let's take it a sentence at a time. "Be like Mary." There has been a lot of scholarship directed toward reclaiming Mary Magdalene as a woman of faith and clearing her reputation. There is no scriptural evidence that she was a prostitute, but there is evidence, in the Gospel stories of Easter morning, that she was a disciple to the disciples, seeing the risen Lord and spreading the good news. So, what is a disciple, but someone to emulate or be like? So, yes, "Be like Mary." Be a disciple. Spread the good news. When I enact the story, I am Mary, but in real life, I can be like Mary.
"Do not cling to what has been." is inspired by the line in which Jesus said to Mary, "Do not hold on to me (which is sometimes also translated "do not cling to me") for I have not yet ascended." And, what is he really saying to her, but do not stay in the past. I am going forward. Come with me into the future. Thanks, Dan, for this song! I could go through the rest of it line by line like this: the whole song has great theology, giving new twists and lots of insight into the story.

My whole adventure of going to the Biblical Storytelling Festival was partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Thank you!

And, a reminder about the upcoming retreat:
Saturday, October 4, 2008, 9:30am-4pm
Moving Through the Mysteries of the Rosary
Portiuncula Center for Prayer, Frankfort, Illinois
The rosary is a traditional Roman Catholic meditative prayer form that combines prayer intentions, scripture stories called “mysteries,” and repetitive prayers. In honor of October as the Month of the Rosary, we will explore how the full cycle of the mysteries of the rosary – Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection – is relevant to our contemporary life journeys. After grounding ourselves in movement-based Lectio Divina (scriptural reflection) and faith sharing, we will develop our own moving meditations to the natural rhythms of the spoken rosary. Our movement might focus on any one of the three intertwined elements of rosary prayer – the prayer intention, the scripture meditation, or the repetitive prayers themselves – or it might flow between them. Our leader, Michele Marie Beaulieux, dances the rosary as a private movement meditation, and, as a retreat leader, she guides other people, whether they consider themselves dancers or not, in experiencing how they can deepen their personal prayer by moving to the rhythms and stories of the rosary. The rosary is so rich, so full of layers that it provides a plush opportunity for exploring movement. People who participate in Michele’s retreats find their personal rosary prayer deepened: they expand their movement beyond their fingers to their entire bodies. No rosary, dance, or movement experience is required, merely a desire and willingness to move and pray. Please wear comfortable clothing. If weather permits, we may pray outside. Rosaries will be provided.

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