Over the decades, the nineteenth verse of the second chapter of Luke continually captures my attention. After the shepherds have made their uninvited presence known in the birthplace of Jesus, it reads, "Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them." (Easy-to-Read Version)
From my late teens into mid-twenties many experiments and explorations of life occurred. Post-secondary education years were filled with diverse choices in order to try on various self-concepts. While familiar writing instruments were always available I began to explore fountain pens. Messy, finicky, and exotic are apt descriptors both of the pens and myself. I later discovered my father-in-law possessed a couple classic fountain pens. No wonder we got along! I am still hooked on these tools.
|Nourishment for writing.|
When thoughts can be expressed and placed on something permanent and portable the author controls the narrative. I sense this is why we never discover more about Mary. Sure, Jesus may be the focus, but he did not live disconnected from his parents. Those who controlled the narrative were able to decide the content and context of what has been codified as "the truth." There are other writings from the time of Jesus, but later a committee composed of religious officials decided what got included in the New Testament. Over time this has limited the dimensions of not only the people, but I believe the perspectives of the sacred stories.
|Writing is a gift!|
I enjoy reading the letters that accompany some of the photo collage cards received during the Holidays. Most relate basic data, describe stable relationships, and provide glowing reviews of educational, vocational, and recreational endeavors. As I read these notes it is important to know the author and the context. If I composed our Holiday Letter, it would convey life differently than my wife's recent writing. It depends on who controls the narrative. This does not mean one is true and the other false. It means you get a person's perspective in a specific context. There are no doubt more aspects which allow for greater understanding of the situation.
Back to the book of Luke and the person of Mary. It appears Mary had no control of her narrative. The majority of Christian Scripture is a narrative of male perspective. Even if oral accounts were passed on they were placed in written form by people distant from the context. Thus the pondering of Mary, her relationship with her son, her husband, and her community over decades is left to conjecture. Centuries later (431CE), the Council of Ephesus declared Mary as the "Mother of God." She did not get to place her voice or perspective in that narrative, either!
|If you know me you knew |
this was coming!