Sunday, 20 April 2014
Easter Sunday - resurrection and egalitarianism
Today's reading from John 20 was the passage I preached on this morning. The transcript is going to be published so I won't say too much. Let me select one theme.
Mary Magdalene goes on the first day of the week to the garden where Jesus is laid. Just as John 1 echoes Genesis 1, so we should see Genesis 2 and 3 here; life in the Garden of Eden. Instead of Eve being misled by the serpent and then misleading Adam (who should have known better anyway), we have God (Jesus) addressing Mary (the new Eve) to go and set the disciples straight - telling them Jesus had risen and was ascending to the Father.
Mary was the apostle to the apostles; the first apostle of the new covenant. We should also note that when Mary addresses Jesus as Rabbouni, she is saying "my teacher" and not just "teacher". Jesus had taught her as a disciple in an age where only men were taught this way.
My point is, apart from personal reconciliation with God, the curse on Eve is undone. There is no excuse for anything less than full equality in the church, as it was always intended to be - remember Eve is described as Adam's helper, a word also used of God.
This is behind what Paul says in Galatians 3 when he says there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. All barriers come down, and all are equal in Christ. Once this becomes the narrative in which you work, other texts must be understood in this light.
Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed!