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The angel and the women at the empty tomb.  Benedictional of St Æthelwold,  BL Add. 49598 f.51v

The angel and the women at the empty tomb.
Benedictional of St Æthelwold,
BL Add. 49598 f.51v

I bring you greetings from Jessica, who tells me that she misses us and prays for us as we do her. She is also pleased that you read and enjoyed her posts that we brought over from NEO, and it gave me great pleasure to do so, as well.

I know that you wonder, as do I, whether she will return to us, and not least to the blogs. I don’t know; she doesn’t know. She says there is much she misses about them, the give and take, the camaraderie, the learning and the teaching. But she also says she grew weary of personal attacks, and was increasingly hurt by them. And so, only God knows, and he hasn’t told anyone yet.

Personally, I pray, and suspect many of you do as well, for her return. But while I have told her what I think, as I usual, I will not presume to urge her to do so. That is for her to decide, with God’s help. Nor would I presume to attempt to substitute my judgement for hers. I have far too much respect for her to do such a thing.

And so, as Jessica said yesterday, “Under Jewish Law the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all.” And yet the very fact that you are reading this here is because of the testimony of a woman. How unlikely is this group? How likely for Chalcedon and I to meet? He is a distinguished and senior professor at a great British University, I am an electrician in Nebraska, yet we did. And we have become close friends due to the testimony of a woman. In fact, she foresaw it long before we did, I think. Not long after we became friends she commented that she thought we were the same man, because we always have the same reaction. She’s not far wrong, the major difference between us is which bank of the Tiber we stand on. 🙂

And so, our newer readers have had an opportunity to read Jess’ work over a few days, and to see why we have all come to love her so, and why we link so often to her posts. The Testimony of a Woman, is a powerful thing, indeed.

Probably the things that unites all the contributors here are first, our love of our Crucified and Risen Lord, but also, I think we all love teaching. Chalcedon, and Jessica are trained teachers and yet as I told Jessica once, one of the main things I miss about not being in the field anymore is the sheer joy of teaching someone to be better than I ever was.

The importance of women is something that goes to the very beginning of Christianity. I have said before that if you would understand the role of women in Jesus’ time, you have only to look at fundamentalist Islam, it is simply a milder form of what was. And yet in the Annunciation, we see the Angel sent to tell Mary that she would bear Jesus, reassuring her until she assents saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word,” That is not submission, that is informed consent, to something that she knew could, at best, make her a pariah, and at worst cost her her life. And so she pondered, and carried out the mission.

And again at the end of His earthly mission, Christ again chose a woman to carry the news, Mary Magdalen this time, when He chose to reveal Himself first to her. Jess said yesterday:

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

And so she did, and so does Jessica, and so should we.

The Testimony of a Woman, God’s chosen method of communication with us, the most powerful sound in the world.