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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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May 12, 2006

Was Mary Magdalene a mother?

Don’t we all know that—not quite in time for Mother’s Day—The DaVinci Code opens next week in movie theaters across the country? The poster I saw on a bus shelter one night this week promoted “the search for the truth.” Hmmm. The “truth” being the answer to: Did Mary Magdalene bear Jesus’ child?

I read, and enjoyed, the book two years ago and thought then it would be fun to see on the big screen. And I will go see it. For the trip to Paris, if nothing else.

But “truth”? I don’t think so. And as we do think about mothers and how important they are in our lives this weekend, I’m reminded that what is most important, and most certainly true, about Mary Magdalene is that she was Jesus’ disciple. Read what Brad Kirkegard, early Christianity editor for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, tells about her role. And isn’t a life of discipleship what we all are called to?

Think of the women who showed you Christ’s love in their love for you and in their daily lives. One might be your mom, another your grandma.  But I’ll bet there are others, too, including some who never were a mother. For me, right now, there is Mildred, a 96-year-old friend who lives in the house she was born in and who attends the Lutheran church half-a-block away of which she’s a charter member. She’s busy this week, baking her signature butter cookies—10 batches of them. She’ll give a box to each of the youths at church who are heading to North Carolina for a mission trip. “I want them to know how proud I am of what they’re doing,” she told me.

Mildred bore no children. We don’t know about Mary Magdalene. But both are mothers in the truest sense—mothers in the faith in lives given to nurturing the family of God.

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