Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sun. Aug. 28, 2011 (Jo White)

Jo White (Regent College graduate from New Zealand) spoke on two seemingly unrelated texts, John 20.1-18 and Song of Songs 3.1-5. Mary Magdalene was deeply involved with Jesus' life as one of his followers (possibly even traveling with the group), a witness to his death, burial and resurrection, and most likely as a financial and logistical supporter. Her nickname was Magdala, or "watchtower", and she certainly did keep watch over Jesus, with the gospels repeatedly recording her watchfulness and citing her first in lists of women. The Song of Songs, by contrast, is a book of erotic poetry which has been interpreted in a wide variety of ways over the centuries. In addition to eroticism, it explores themes of yearning and longing, loss and searching, discovery and joy. Jo suggests that the writer of the Gospel according to John possibly followed the literary model in the Song of Songs when writing the 20th chapter. In scripture, gardens are a motif for meeting and for intimacy; both stories are set in a garden, both have a woman searching, both women found watchmen/angels instead of the beloved, and both finally found the beloved. But then the stories purposefully diverge. Mary M. names Jesus as "teacher" (rather than "beloved"), she is not allowed to embrace Jesus (unlike her counterpart in the Song of Songs), and she is told to talk to the disciples (rather than to the daughters of Jerusalem). Jo then asked us, whom are we seeking? Who is seeking you? Are you a watchtower? [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, August 28th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



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