This is a wonderful spiritual text for me, and it has become so after some discussion with friends and our local clergy and lay readers. Easter has many layers of beautiful meaning. It is the big bone of contention for whether you are a believer or not, or something in between. Christ risen from the dead, earthquakes and tomb stones rolling and the body is no longer there. It is difficult to believe, without some personal spiritual experience, in this possibility in this world of evidence based rationalisation. but my experience allows me to see this possibility. And – as always – the story makes me smile with joy- an angel who opens the tomb. Angels who have been part of my mystical experience.
But the other night I watched a programme trying to make a historical analysis about what happened more precisely about Christ’s crucifixion story using historical evidence to better understand what it means. The presenters and historians were creating a more plausible political context and the significance of the impact of Christ to political factions in Jewish ruling elites as well as Roman occupation and governance. Well it did help suggest why people did what they did to Christ and why Christ coming to Jerusalem etc. was a big deal and how and why people turned on him so brutally. But when the programme started suggesting that Jesus was astute in his political alliances this is when the modern search for evidence and credibility based on modern contemporary ways of seeing the world lost the whole point of having the story at all. Arguably this Jewish story is of little interest unless you are interested in the detail of Jewish history, certainly the political detail of it. If Jesus was the Son of God the politics and context are completely irrelevant. If you believe in the Son of God, then the only meaning is that God was well aware of a context where his Son would eventually die cruelly to cleanse the human world of sin, and then be resurrected and provide a deep protective spiritual energy for ever for the human race. Well that’s my take assuming my spiritually experience is real and therefore some deeper truth.
But most people probably struggle to fully believe the Easter story and as with so many things with their beliefs looking for some, some evidence. And these days the scientists have made a religion out of their methodology, which serve technology well but fairly inadequate in giving life meaning. But how mush does poor self esteem and the need to be validated by others affect what we believe or say we believe.
And as I move into a more of a gay man’s perspective on this subject, gay men are often consciously or otherwise looking, as outsiders, to validation of others, because deep down we often grow up vulnerable in our sub-conscious in what the world says negatively about us. We often need to find a place where we fit in, always looking for that evidence, that validation from outside ourselves, rather than having confidence on just being ourselves as we are to just be who we are. But for a fuller exploration of our challenges as gay men I would recommend reading Straight Jacket by Matthew “..and don’t call me Mary” the camp traditional banter between gay men, much less prevalent now I am sure. But in the accepting gay inclusive world of old it is somewhat comforting to have that phrase. Mary Magdalene who was an outsider and the other Mary sounds like Mary Magdalene went with a camp gay man. Now wouldn’t that be lovely for us gay men to have a story like that in the Bible. Mary and the gay man went to the tomb!
But bringing this piece full circle, this wonderful story is only wonderful, if you believe in Christ as an aspect of God/Spirit. We all interpret it as we want to believe. It helps to have a mystical experience of Christ to support, or otherwise, our personal beliefs in mystical scripture. Whether in the tomb there should or shouldn’t be a body, a physically resurrected Christ or just Christ’s spirit seems that is quite debatable, although the Bible official line is that Christ rises in his previously dead body wounds and all. So I might like to keep the idea that the other Mary is indeed a gay man, the other Mary who discovered the wonderful news that Christ was risen! A bit like the story of the beloved disciple, unnamed, at the crucifixion itself. It makes me feel less like an outcast from Christian society.