(I wrote this a couple of years ago and offer it for you Holy Saturday observance.)
Here’s how Mary Magdalene might have told her story.
When they killed him, it was like they killed me too – the me I was becoming; the hopeful, happy me. The me that people liked, that had friends. Before Jesus, life was a kind of blur. I just moved from thing to thing, from person to person, but nobody really cared about me and, to be honest, I don’t think I really cared about anybody – including myself. My life was a nightmare.
Then I met Jesus and everything changed. It’s like I woke up. For the first time since I was a little girl, somebody really cared about me. And it wasn’t just Jesus; his friends cared about me too. They became my friends. They took me in, made me one of them. They talked to me, listened to me, laughed with me, sometimes laughed at me—but I didn’t mind because they really liked me. I don’t know how to say it… For the first time I could remember, it wasn’t just me. It was us. I was saying things like, “We should go to the market. We should bake some bread. It felt so good to say “We.”
But we were us only because of him. We all knew it. He was the only thing that held us together. He was our heart. One day I said to Mary and Salome, “We would never have become friends if it wasn’t for him.” And they agreed. Salome said, “We’d never become anything, if it wasn’t for him.” But we were something with him! How exciting it was when we entered Jerusalem together with all the rest of the Galileans going to the festival. They shouted to him – to our Jesus – “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
And then he was gone. They took him. They killed him. And they might as well have killed me too. Without him to hold us together, I was sure we would all fall apart. None of those people I called my friends would have said “Hello” to me on the street, if it wasn’t for Jesus. Now that we’d lost him, I was so afraid I would lose them too.
On the day it happened, we (Salome and Mary and me, and a few of our friends) followed the Council Member and his people to the tomb, and only left in time to get back before Sabbath started. But we made plans to meet when Sabbath was over to see to it that his body was properly prepared for burial. Our people have very strict customs, and we were all afraid they wouldn’t be observed.
Since we were almost all from Galilee and were staying in different places around the City, we made arrangements to meet at the tomb just at first light. Salome and Mary and I would come together, since we were all staying in Bethsaida. His mother, Joanna, Mariam (Clopas’s wife), and a few others were coming from the City.
(Postscript: Tomorrow, on Easter Sunday, we will add the next part of Mary’s – and John bar Zebedee’s – shared story.)