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Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd anything.
A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
Welsh-born English poet and Anglican priest
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I looked for him whom my heart loves,
I sought him without finding him. (Song of Songs 3:1)
Dawn breaks in the distance, in this painting by Sieger Köder. He chooses to focus on the tradition in John's gospel that Mary of Magdala came first and alone to the tomb on Easter morning. Mary is shown in the garden of Jesus' burial, surrounded by tombs and the symbols of death. She is clothed in brilliant red, which echoes the dawn. Our eye is drawn to her central position and kneeling posture. She is just turning in recognition of the risen One...
We are reminded that it was 'very early in the morning and still dark' when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. These words cast our consciousness back to the dawning of time, and the first day of Creation. The artist helps to set the stage for the resurrection and a new creation. In the distance the rising light of dawn seems to have pierced the wall and set it asunder. We wait for the moment when Jesus will emerge from the tomb to newness of life.
Mary is closely associated with the Song of Songs. From the fifth century onwards, at Ephesus and elsewhere, it has been the chosen reading for her feast. She is depicted as the one who constantly seeks the Beloved: 'I looked for the one I love, I sought him without finding him; I called him and he did not answer. I will rise and go about the city, through the streets and the squares; I will seek him whom my heart loves...' (Sg 3:1-3)...
May we seek you with the dedication and perseverance of Mary of Magdala and find you in the unexpected events of our lives.
May we follow her example and share her witness with our world as we join her in proclaiming your resurrection.
- Extract from Christ our Morning Star, by Magdalene Lawler, pp. 72-74.