Goddess Murder, 8: Wedding

X. Wedding

[From The Gospel According to Mary, as translated by C.T. Edwards, A. Healy, L. Moresco, and S. Wise]

Our Rabbi loved my family in Bethany, my brother Lazarus, my sister Martha, and myself. It happened that Lazarus became extremely ill, and Martha and I sent word to Joshua about our brother’s illness.

When Joshua came to Bethany, one of his students came to me secretly and said, “The Rabbi has come and calls for you.”

I arose quickly and went to meet him: but Martha re­mained in the house. When I had found him, I said, weeping, “Rabbi, my brother has already died. But even now, whatever you ask God, God will give to you.”

When Joshua saw me weeping, he was troubled and said, “Mary, your brother is sleeping. Where have you laid him?”

I said, “Rabbi, come and see.”

Joshua came with me to the grave. It was in a cave, and a stone covered its mouth. Joshua said, “Roll away the stone.”

I said, “Rabbi, shall my brother, who has died, live again?”

Joshua said, “Yes, your brother shall rise again.”

I said, “He shall rise again in the resur­rection at the last day.”

Joshua said, “Mary, who do you think I am?”

I said, “Rabbi, you are the Promised One, anointed by the Spirit of God, come to redeem us from slavery.”

He replied, “Blessed are you among women, Mary, for you could not have known this unless my Mother in Heaven had told you. I give you the keys of the Queen of Heaven; whatever you bind or loose on Earth shall be bound or loosed in Heaven. I shall gather my flock, and you shall be their shepherdess. I will make your name to be remembered in all generations. Therefore the peoples shall give you thanks forever and ever.”

Then they rolled away the stone from the cave. Joshua went into the cave, calling loudly, “Lazarus, come forth.” He emerged from the cave with Lazarus holding his hand and blinking in the sunlight.

Joshua said, “Loose him from the grave clothes. Dress him as for life.”

 ***

 Our wedding was held in Cana of Galilee; and Joshua’s other stu­dents were invited to it. They said to him, “Come, let us pray today, and let us fast.”

Joshua replied, “What sin have I committed? In what have I been de­feated? When the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then fast and pray. Can the chil­dren of the bridal chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then they shall fast.”

And so his students came to our wedding.

During the wedding, my parents com­plained to their sister Mary, the mother of Joshua, “We have run out of wine.” She said to him, “There is no more wine.” For running out of wine would have shamed our families before all our kin and friends.

There were six waterpots of stone, for purifying, contain­ing several gallons each. Joshua said to the servants, “Draw out the wine from the water­pots, and bear it to the governor of the feast.” And they did so.

When the governor of the feast had tasted the wine, he said to Joshua, “Every man at the begin­ning sets forth good wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

Joshua replied, “The best shall be last, and the least shall be first.”

Then he said to his friends, “Eat, friends! Drink, yes, drink abundantly, beloved, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. I saw her coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen, which is the righteous acts of the saints. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 ***

 After this, I was the companion of our Rabbi. All of the women students were his companions. He kissed all of us, but he loved me more than all the other students and kissed me often on the mouth. The other students were upset over this and asked him, “Why do you love her more than us?” But Joshua only replied, “Do I love her more than you? By a kiss the perfect conceive and give birth. That is why we kiss one another. We conceive by the grace in each other.”

 ***

Joshua said, “Mary is a vessel full of grace for you. She is clothed with majesty; with strength. She is my refuge, my fortress. I will guide her to make her masculine, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself masculine will see the Queen of Heaven.  Mary, the Queen of my flesh, must teach the mysteries to those who can understand them. As Moses wrote, male and female he created them. Therefore the son and the daughter shall inherit equally. Every woman who makes herself a warrior will see the Queen of Heaven. She has been chosen to admin­ister the Mother’s estate. She too may bear witness.”

His students replied, “Rabbi, tell us what she may bear witness to.”

He replied, “If the Queen of Heaven comes with witnesses, will you believe them? The Law and the Prophets ruled until the time of John the Baptizer; since then the Queen of Heaven is ravished, and the violent take her by force. Unless you receive the Queen of heaven for yourselves through knowledge, you will not find her.

His students asked him, “When will the Queen come?”

Joshua answered, “Children, how glorious the coming of the holy Queen will be! She will not come because you are waiting for her. It will not be a matter of saying, `Here she is’ or `There she is.’ If those who lead you say to you, `See, the Queen is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, `She is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. But I tell you, the prostitutes and the tax-collectors will see the Queen before those leaders will. She is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see her. What you look for has already come, but you do not know it. Truly, I tell you, the Queen whom you seek after and inquire about, behold, She is within you and outside you.”

  • KateGladstone

    The problem with “shepherdess” in English is its current connotation of overfeminized, simpering, Dresden-china,-lace,-and-artificial-ringlets giggling ineffectuality: the image is of Little Bo-Peep and/or Marie Antoinette expensively playing “imitation peasant” at Versailles.
    Would it be possible, to prevent many a reader from smirking, to make the word “herdswoman”?

    • aidanakelly

      Hmm, good point. I know, from vetting the Greek for my mentor’s dramatization of the Revelation to John that one could use the phrase “herd with an iron wand.” Nor quite right either. More thought

      • KateGladstone

        “Herdmistress”?

        • KateGladstone

          Or how about simply “shepherd”? After all, in present-day English most job-titles are NOT marked for gender, and gender-marking on job-titles is increasingly seen (especially by women with those jobs) as a put-down — ask any female actor why the women in her profession no longer are happy to call themselves “actresses” to to be so called by others.


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