We are re-running this blog post in honor of the Myrrhbearing Women, who are celebrated soon after Easter. They brought their gifts and their desire to serve--even though they had no idea how they were going to manage. Theirs is also the story of supporting one another through great loss and grief--not least if we accept the tradition that Mary the Mother of God was one and that she was accompanied by her sister Salome.
They came because they knew they had to.
They came even though they were afraid.
They came as a group.
They came giving each other courage, and hope, and fortitude.
They came because they knew somebody had to do something.
They came because they loved Christ.
They came even though he had been disgraced in the eyes of the Romans, the Jews, the whole world.
They came even though they had no idea what they’d do when they got there.
They came even though they didn’t know how they would push aside the heavy stone blocking the tomb.
They came bringing what they had, which was myrrh.
They came because they had always been near him, taking care of him and his disciples.
They came because he had loved them and taught them and done miracles for them.
They came because Christ needed them.
They came even though they knew Joseph and Nicodemus had wrapped him with myrrh and aloes.
They came in case his funeral rites were incomplete. Had he had his eyes closed? Had he been kissed with love? Had his body been properly washed?
They came knowing his body was going to stink, because it had been far more than eight hours since he had died.
They came because he had had no funeral procession, no women leading the way wailing or throwing dust on their hair.
They came knowing that being in contact with his dead body would make them ritually unclean.
And so—because they acted in fear and humility--
They met the angel.
They were the first to hear the good news.
They found themselves the apostles to the apostles.
May we find it in ourselves to reach out to our friends and neighbors and do likewise.
Patricia Fann Bouteneff is president of Axia Women.