Mary’s Story Retold

Dear President Trump,

Here is the prayer I read in church today:

“Every day for the last 307 days I have written Donald Trump a letter to express my thoughts and feelings about what is going on in our country since he took office. In response to our collective struggle with the depths of America’s misogyny I wrote him in October about my sense of how two of our most central bible stories need to be challenged. I’ve rewritten that letter to him as a meditation for our prayers of the people today.

  • May we reject Judeo-Christian misogynist myths that sustain patriarchy.
  • May we stop promoting unhelpful and damaging narratives, including woman having been formed to assuage the loneliness of man.
  • May we be willing to step back and consider the messages laced through our oldest stories with fresh ears and hearts, including the story of Mary’s virginal conception, which I have annotated and will share with you now.

May we consider how we are told Mary was visited in the night by an angel who informed her she was chosen to bear God’s child. May we consider how we learn she was afraid at first and may we wonder whether she was angry. May we imagine her relief when she learned Joseph, her betrothed, would not have her stoned to death. May we consider how the story tells us Mary was impregnated without her knowledge and therefore, technically, against her will.

May we consider how we don’t know what the real story of Jesus’s parents was and we don’t know whether his mother was a willing partner in his creation. May we consider how we are left with the troubling tale where the most revered woman in Christianity was impregnated against her will and had to depend on the largess of a man to escape exile or execution.

May we consider instead a story of two people who loved each other dearly and together had an amazing spiritual child who taught people that love and kindness are everything. May we consider whether this story rings truer and whether if this were our shared understanding of how Jesus came into being we might have mitigated the virulent subjugation of women we have been saddled with for thousands of years. May we consider giving Mary her personhood back and rejecting the virgin birth invention.

  • May we be safe to tell real stories that make sense
  • May we be content with the magic of love
  • May we be healthy enough to let go of sexist mythologies
  • May we accept that true miracles come about through mutually respectful love.

Amen.”

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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