By Not Known
We want to be the best. That’s common for nations, organisations, individuals and even for churches. We boast of our triumphs and define the contest so narrowly that we can all be the best at something. Tiny triumphs indeed!
Let’s face it, most of us are not the best at anything much. We usually fit somewhere near the middle of a bell curve for most things – we are neither the best nor the worst of people.
There’s good news for us ordinary people in the Mary that we consider today (Mrk 15:40 – 16:1). For starters, she’s a woman in a man’s world. She’s from up-country Galilee in a day when all the action was down south in Jerusalem. She’s called ‘Mary’, a name shared with many others. This Mary is so ordinary that she is known as the ‘other’ Mary. Think about that label – she is the one left over after the more prominent Marys have been described more fully. One of her sons was an Apostle, but we know little of him and he was known as James ‘the Less’ – the word used here is the word for micro.
This Mary is the kind of person that we would barely see in a back pew, was never up front in church nor on the leaders’ list. In short, this Mary is so ordinary that we’d think of her as a ‘beige’ person if we noticed her at all.
The ‘other’ Mary and her ‘micro’ son have an image problem! However, it’s from the ‘other’ people like Mary that God does much. This Mary had served Jesus and followed him all the way from Galilee to the cross. Remember that the ‘big’ men fled before the cross. Mary then attended to Jesus’ grave, was one of the first two to hear the news of the resurrection and announced the resurrection to the ‘big’ men who were the apostles.
Maybe Mary is not so ‘other’ after all.
There are many like this Mary in the Bible’s story of how God does great things. We find them listed in the odd corners of the book of Acts or the closing sentences of Paul’s letters. We also find them scattered through God’s church today. They are the ones who quietly and consistently serve with their gifts in the place where they are needed.
Let’s thank God for the ‘other’ of his church. Let’s treasure and encourage them and their contribution. Let’s abandon the search for our own tiny triumphs and be content to follow the ‘other’ Mary to the cross in humble faith and service.