The Other Mary

Marys at TombI’ve never thought much about her—“the other Mary”—as New Testament writer Matthew portrays her. But yesterday’s Easter sermon reminded me:

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Matthew doesn’t take pains to describe her with words like faithful, seeking, grieving, author, teacher, witness. Just other. Some say that writers Mark, Luke and John name her in more detail, but Matthew seems content with other. We know that the goal of this former-tax-collector-now-disciple is to identify Christ as King, as Messiah in his Jesus story. Could it be that he wants us to take our proper other place before the King? After all, we are all other in comparison.

As yesterday’s preacher surmised, when the other Mary looked back on this Resurrection Day, she probably cared not one whit if she didn’t receive an honorific. To follow her loved Savior as other was enough.

I suspect there is not one of us who doesn’t at some time think of missed opportunities, cancelled dreams, unfulfilled expectations. We may go to our graves as other. But going to the grave is exactly what this Mary did—not her own place of burial, but the tomb of One to whom she had committed her own opportunities, dreams and expectations. And because of that, she heard the voice of an angel. She was filled with both fear and joy. She ran in obedience. And the risen Jesus met her and The Magdalene and gave the women both comfort and a mission: Do not be afraid. Go and tell…

We others have lives to live, a Savior to love, a mission to accomplish. We willingly join the Band of Others.

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