Tuesday, 26 April 2011


GospelJohn 20:11-18 

Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

Yesterday, I went to see the new  Marvel film Thor. Having been a great comic-book fan since childhood it is with great trepidation that I go to see any of the 'film of the comic'. But, certainly, this had been made with the fondness and devotion of makers who love their heroes.  Having watched it in Digital i-max hyper-reality - every compliment has to be given to the cgi and visual effects artists for their  'imagineering' of the Nine Realms. But it is in the achievement of visualising the characters that makes this sort of film a success.

Thor, as big and as mighty as he is, is an innocent; impulsive, guileless but without compassion, without the wisdom of experience or the understanding that 'might' is not always 'right'.  Only when he is sent away; sent to earth to become a human does he gain an appreciation of what it like to lose, to be overtaken, to be limited by his own body and by how others exert their authority over him.

His brother, Loki, is the better diplomat; seems to have the greater insight but he is a magician; his desire is to gain power; the power to be the authority over others.

In school I am often accused of being able to see 'God-stuff' in everything. Why should today be anything different?

It is in the relationship with those who are weaker that Thor comes to understand why he was given power and what the misuse of that power can lead to. His sending away means that he is faced with uncertainty; he becomes aware of the fraility of life; hre realises that he doesn't have the answer to everything.

His loyal Asgardian friends (who, earlier in the story, admitted that they owe much to Thor's faith in them) come to his aid only to also be sent away to help the humans and, it is in doing this and in sacrificing himself for those in danger - that Thor becomes himself again and more than himself - someone that his father can be proud of.

Only then is his hammer, Mjolnir, returned to him and he is returned to the fullness of his power (given that his 'compassion' still includes a fair amount of violence and destruction but then he is a war god).

God's power, God's mercy fills far more than Nine Realms; fills and overflows. The power and influence of God, of Jesus, only works properly when it is moving outwards. Mary is one of the superheroes, since she has been saved she has not left Jesus' side, through betrayal, condemnation and death; her presence at the Resurrection overlooked or made light of in some of the Gospels; in this passage the encounter is so hesitant, so full of misunderstanding that it feels full of truth. Jesus is the centre of her life; surely she had intended to be by his side always? To have this second chance...but there are others who need to know; followers more afraid and despairing than she is ,who need to be called.

I have been asked by other Christians if I claim Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour? Honestly, I have to say 'no'. That I have a personal relationship with Jesus is undoubtable, but I try not to cling to him;   he is not 'mine' unless I believe that he is everyone else's.

 The truth of the Resurrection is not just for Mary, not just for me. Jesus cannot be who he needs to be if his people hold on to him. The quest is much bigger than that.
“So You haven’t really sent me away from You, after all. When You assigned me the task of going out among men, You were only repeating to me Your one and only commandment: to find my way home to You in love. All care of souls is ultimately possible only in union with You, only in the love that binds me to You and thus makes me Your companion in finding a path to the hearts of men.” Karl Rahner



Jade said...

A lovely post in all its wisdom.
This is one of my very favorite scenes from the bible...
Very fitting title, too.. "Unbound." Jesus is free to be loved as we are.

Sylvia Ney said...

Great "U" post! I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

Word in the Hand said...

Thanks Sylvia and Jade - especially for dropping by.

claire said...

Another great post, Word, as always.
Thank you for your thoughts and Karl Rahner's quote.
(I don't know Thor at all, so I felt a bit lost there :-) )

Word in the Hand said...

Sorry Claire - he's one of the marvel comic superheroes - from the 60's and 70"s -it was probably and, to be honest still is, more of a boy thing. A weakness of mine - but at least you always knew where you stood with a superhero. They are all making a comeback on the big screen.
Thank you - hope you had a blessed Easter ((+))