Well we’ve reached that time of year again where the Christian hating media feels compelled to acknowledge Easter but doesn’t want to; so they find an angle which hints at academic interest but which really intends to knock the faith. Of course there is the yawningly awful annual Jesus/Magdalene affair/marriage story. I guess the fact that Jesus rose from the dead isn’t sensationalist enough?! Better throw a bit of forbidden romance in there to keep everyone interested right?
Well I’ve been thinking about this very deeply recently and have unwittingly unearthed a rather uncomfortable truth about my own relationship with Jesus.
Me and Maggers have the same problem – we are both obsessed with Jesus to the point where we both want to posses Him. We are clingy. This aspect of the relationship is all wrong.
In John 20:17 Mary encounters the risen Jesus for the first time: “Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father…'” The word translated “touch” is a Greek word which means “to cling to, to lay hold of.” This wasn’t just a touch; it was a grip. She was literally clinging onto him. If Jesus was the rock, Maggers was the barnacle. There was no way anyone was gonna pries her off!
I have to say I would have done exactly the same thing. Mary desperately clings on to the love of her life whom – only a few days earlier was crucified right in front of her. She was ecstatic her Lord had returned. She was terrified of losing Him again. She wasn’t gonna let go – no way!
But you see, as with all possessive relationships, it was centering around the one doing the possessing. In effect, Maggers wanted to keep Him under her control. She wanted the relationship to be on her terms.
Ouch. How many of us are doing that in our relationships with God? Quite a few of us right? I have been. Just like Maggers, I have basically been using God as a comfort blanket. And there was no freaking way I was ever gonna let that false notion of God go! No sir! I was comfortable.
We do it all the time. In prayer, in the liturgy, in our relationships with other people. We want to be in charge. We want to posses God. We want to posses Him because He is beautiful and wonderful and He is love. We want to posses Him because we are afraid of letting Him be in charge. It comes down to our lack of trust.
Maggers relationship with Jesus was all wrong. What she didn’t realise of course was that clinging onto Jesus would actually prevent their relationship from becoming even deeper. When He told her to let Him go, it was because He wanted to be with her in an entirely new, closer and more personal way than He had been before.
You see, the relationship that Jesus wanted with Mary Magdalene – the relationship He wants with you and me – is like no other relationship that is possible with another human being. Jesus has instructed us to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:53).
What sort of a relationship is this?!
The closest relationships I have in my own life are with my husband and children. Obviously I have a sexual relationship with my husband in which I let him into my body. And obviously my children have also been within my body as they grew in my womb. But Jesus is offering me something quite different here:
He wants to physically dwell within me – His creation – on a permanent basis. This is of course a sort of foretaste of heaven – but He desires for that relationship to begin now – here on earth. He desires to be so ultimately close to me that he wishes to be physically absorbed into my cells and float around in my blood stream. He wishes to penetrate my soul and literally posses every part of my being. He must posses me! Not the other way round! It has to be this way round because He is the creator and I am the created.
I believe that so many of us get this aspect of the relationship wrong. So many of us are having a relationship with Christ based on our terms – just like Mary Magdalene did.
It’s so sad that the Christian hating media simply cannot fathom that relationships can exist without some sort of sexual aspect. They will just never understand that there is a deeper relationship available here – much, much deeper and more intense than a sexual one. But for them to understand that, they would have to understand Christ, and the Mass, and Love. And sadly, they clearly have no idea about any of those things.