Consider today’s blog as a pondering of sorts – musing on what would it have looked like if the Magdalene’s perspective on the Jesus message had not been supplanted by fear, power and control, but instead, had been allowed to flourish? I entertain these thoughts not in opposition to the Institutional Church, because ultimately, I believe that the only way for the Church to survive is if both the feminine and masculine are honored, but, not unlike the feminist movement, we have to start the conversation somewhere. So….here goes…..
1) To begin with, I believe the Church of the Magdalene would be less concerned about saving us from sin and death, and more concerned with empowering us in life. If there is such a thing as hell, I often believe THIS IS IT! The Church of the Magdalene would give us tools for learning how to navigate the human condition and would help us find comfort in our losses while celebrating our joys.
2) The Church of the Magdalene’s second task would be to empower us in fulfilling the mission God intended for us. We would be given the tools and support we need to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives through the uniquely creative way in which God desires to be known in the world through us. We would also be given the help and support we need to overcome the inner obstacles to living that purpose.
3) In the Church of the Magdalene, the priesthood would not be one of exclusivity, but instead, would empower a priesthood of ALL believers. EVERY SINGLE PERSON would be ordained into their unique, special and necessary mission for the betterment of humankind and our world. Some would be ordained as healers, teachers, counselors, prophets, welcomers, nourishers, sustainers, supporters, stewards of the environment, growers, inspirers, bringers of beauty, shadow walkers, hand holders, receivers of healing and compassion, etc. etc. etc. Yes, some would be called and empowered to pastor and lead communities, but this role would be no more important than any other vocation. All are needed….all are empowered.
4) The Church of the Magdalene would be less about showing up for church to “fulfill your Sunday obligation” or to receive your “get out of hell free” card. The Church of Magdalene would also be less about watching and more about doing. In the Church of the Magdalene, everyone is the presider. We gather together to share our lives, our stories, our journeys and we do so through contemplative prayer, as Jesus did. Then, we are all empowered to go out and do the work that Jesus calls us to do. Love one another. Heal the sick. Feed the hungry. Give sight to the blind. Set captives free. In this way, it is all Eucharist. And if there is a sacred meal to be shared, it could just as well be cookies and milk as bread and wine. In the Church of the Magdalene….Christ is ever-present…in the word, in the people, in the prayer, in our sorrows and in our joys, in the rivers and the trees, in the very air we breathe – and we are invited to see the world in this way!
5) As all of it is Eucharist, so all of it is sacrament. In the Church of the Magdalene, EVERYTHING we do, we do with God, when we hold that as our desire and as our intention. Yes, we may ritualize our doings through public ritual, but none of the rituals are in order that we might receive another “get out of hell free” card. Instead, through our rituals we celebrate the amazing God that we have and we give honor to each other and mark our life transitions as sacred. Baptism is not for the forgiveness of sin, but, like Jesus’ baptism, a time to acknowledge that we are each God’s beloved sons and daughters and with us God is well pleased! Reconciliation is returned to its original intent as an opportunity to take responsibility for our non-loving behaviors and ask God to heal us of the fears that caused these behaviors in the first place. Anointing of the sick becomes an opportunity to share energetic healing with another, acknowledging that we are simply the vessel through which God is facilitating healing in another. Ordination, again, is offered to everyone when they are ready to name, claim and be empowered in their own unique vocation of service to God.
6) The Church of the Magdalene would be firmly rooted in a deeply intimate and personal relationship with God. Love would be the only ultimate truth and God, as Love, the source of authority with Jesus’ law of love being the guiding principle
Love one another as I have loved you.
and the Beatitudes of Jesus as a way to measure our personal growth.
7) Finally, the Church of the Magdalene would be less hierarchical and more collaborative, less about power and privilege and more about honoring all as sacred, less about patriarchy and more about honoring both men and women as sacred and calling forth their unique and magnificent gifts, less about fear and more about love, less about having and more about giving, less about separation and more about unity and most importantly, less about judgment and more about compassion.
I know there is more…..but this seems like a good start. I’m interested in your thoughts. What would the Church of the Magdalene look like to you?