“Human One” by Alana Levandoski

Reflections, wisdom, lyrics and a gorgeous video have been produced and shared by Alana Levandoski. HUMAN ONE: EASTER THROUGH THE EYES OF MARY MAGDALENE. She, too, is inspired by the work of our common teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault.

You can read Alana’s reflections and lyrics HERE.

…I cannot cling

The ripple’s gone out

Beyond the stars and back

Human one

Alana Levandoski — HUMAN ONE

You can watch her video HERE.

HERE is a link to Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, THE MEANING OF MARY MAGDALENE which you will find at the bottom of her blog page.

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Wednesday: Reclining on Jesus’ Breast

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
  • What if Mary Magdalene, who may have procured the room and prepared the Passover meal, was also seated next to Jesus as the Beloved Disciple?

Isaiah 50:5 (4-9a)
YHWH has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

John 13:21-26 (27-32)
…Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.
One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved—MARY MAGDALENE — was reclining next to him;
Simon Peter therefore motioned to THEM to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
So while reclining next to Jesus, SHE asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

by Julia Stankova
Jacopo Bassano, Last Supper, 1546

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL? WHAT SENSES ARE ACTIVATED?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? HOPING? FEARING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

Tuesday: Sharing Jesus’ Troubles

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
  • What if Mary Magdalene also accompanied Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he wrestled in prayer?

Isaiah 49:1 (2—7)
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away!

YHWH called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb YHWH named me.

John 12:26-27 (20-36)

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.

Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say–‘ Father, save me from this hour’?

No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Mark 14:32-34
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, 

“Sit here while I pray.” 

He took Peter, James and John along with him, AND MARY MAGDALENE,

and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” 

he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

This work is from the Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph collection at the Library of Congress

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE or ANOTHER, AS YOU FEEL LED.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE, PARTICULARLY IN YOUR BODY?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SELF, OTHERS, EVENT UNFOLDING?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? FEARING? HOPING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?
  • WHAT INVITATION TO AWARENESS OR ACTION DOES THIS STORY OFFER YOU TODAY?

    Monday: Anointing for Jesus’ Burial

    You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

    Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

    Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

    Chant by Darlene Franz

    To stir the imagination you will find wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story, AS A LIVING AND UNFOLDING STORY, with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

    • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
    • What if Mary of Bethany is one of the faces of Mary Magdalene, anointing Jesus sensuously, sacramentally, prophetically?

    Isaiah 42:1-4 (5-9)
    Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

    I have put my spirit upon HIM/HER.

    THEY will bring forth justice to the nations.
    SHE will not cry or lift up HER voice, or make it heard in the street;
    a bruised reed HE will not break, and a dimly burning wick HE will not quench;

    THEY will faithfully bring forth justice.
    SHE will not grow faint or be crushed until HE has established justice in the earth;

    and the coastlands wait for THEIR teaching.

    John 12:1-8 (9-11)
    Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
    There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
    Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair.

    The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
    But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
    “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”
    (He said this not because he cared about the poor,

    but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.)
    Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
    You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

    The essence of this powerful story is recorded four different ways.

    EXPLORE, IF YOU LIKE...Anointing Jesus’ head or feet. Mary and Jesus imagined many ways.

    • Matthew 26:6-13 (@ Bethany, the house of Simon the Leper: head)
    • Mark 14:3-9 (@ Bethany, the house of Simon the Leper: head)
    • Luke 7:36-50 (@ Simon the Pharisee’s house: feet)
    • John 12:1-8 (@ Bethany, the house of Lazarus, Mary, Martha: feet)
    Anointing by Lauren Wright Pittman
    by Julia Stankova

    ENTERING THE SCENE

    • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE or ANOTHER, AS YOU FEEL LED.
    • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE, PARTICULARY IN YOUR BODY?
    • HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SELF, OTHERS, EVENT UNFOLDING?
    • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? FEARING? HOPING?
    • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

    WHAT INVITATION TO AWARENESS OR ACTION DOES THIS STORY OFFER YOU TODAY?

    Palm/Passion Sunday with Mary Magdalene

    You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

    Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

    Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

    Chant by Darlene Franz

    To stir the imagination you will find wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story, AS A LIVING AND UNFOLDING STORY, with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

    • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
    • What if Mary Magdalene was one of the disciples sent to fetch and lead the colt for Jesus non-resistant action/entry into Jerusalem?

    Isaiah 50:4-5 (6-9a)
    YHWH has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

    Morning by morning YHWH wakens– wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

    YHWH has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

    Mark 11:1-4A (4-11)
    When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives,

    Jesus sent two of his disciples – MARY MAGDALENE AND ANOTHER — and said to them,

    “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this,

    ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.'”

    MARY MAGDALENE AND ANOTHER went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street.

    Lean into Jesus Devotional, Vintage

    ENTERING THE SCENE

    • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE or ANOTHER, AS YOU FEEL LED.
    • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE, PARTICULARY IN YOUR BODY?
    • HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SELF, OTHERS, EVENT UNFOLDING?
    • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? FEARING? HOPING?
    • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

    WHAT INVITATION TO AWARENESS OR ACTION DOES THIS STORY OFFER YOU TODAY?

    Feel free to share in the comments below.

    Holy Week through Mary Magdalene’s Eyes

    THREE VERSES THAT FOREVER CHANGED MY IMAGINATION:

    These three verses appeared out of nowhere for me. I was studying Luke/Acts in the 1990’s. It seemed I had never seen these verses, these women, before:

    Soon afterwards Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

    Luke 8:1-3 NRSV
    Jesus and Mary Magdalene

    What? Jesus’ traveling group included women? Not just any women, but women of means who were the underwriters, the cooks and bottlewashers, I imagine, and the fellow witnesses and learners on The Way? Who were these women? And why is Mary Magdalene the one most named, most active, in the Jesus story?

    Of course in the last thirty years, my imagination has been fed on excellent scholarship and feminist readings and artists’ rendering of the women in Jesus’ life. Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman and the Heart of Christianity (Shambhala, 2010) turns the person and role of Mary Magdalene over and over, like a rock in a tumbler. A beautiful and shining gem of wisdom emerges. It is Cynthia’s imagination that forms the doorway through which I am taking you. My own imagination takes its own turns and tumbles, as will yours.

    I take as my premise the thesis of Cynthia’s book. In response to the concern about “all the Mary’s” in the gospel texts, this is her contention:

    …what if [scripture reflects] a distribution [to various women] of the assets that originally belonged to one unique, individual woman? The contemplative attunement of a Mary of Bethany, the incorruptible spiritual purity of a Virgin Mary, the erotic devotion of a penitent whore – and or course, the bold tenacious witness of one so named as Mary Magdalene: could these all be facets of one flesh-and-blood woman whose very fullness breaks the mold of what our tradition has taught us is possible?

    (Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, p. 2)

    Now I am picky, very picky, about how Mary Magdalene is portrayed. If you do a google image search, which of her faces seems “real” to you? Which of her stories carries flesh and blood testimony, perhaps more vital in its freshness that the zillion layers of Jesus stories that have shaped our hearing? How is she speaking to you?

    Amber Rose Revah — The Bible (2013 film)

    I invite us, together, as we read traditional or non-traditional stories of this Holy Week, to picture women in every scene and every role. What do we notice? In particular, look for and feel for LOVE in all its flavors, from agony to ecstasy. Ask for Mary Magdalene to walk the week with you as a spiritual guide.