This weekend I’m at a women’s retreat. We are focusing on Mary Magdalene and how Jesus loved her so much, despite her having ‘demons’. In the same way Jesus loves each of us, despite our various demons and issues. At these retreats, I like to read a children’s story. This year, the story is Harold and the Purple Crayon. Would you like to know how Harold relates to Mary Magdalene and to our journey as Christians?
You probably remember the story of Harold with his Crayon. He decides to go for a walk. The first thing he draws is the moon and a path. Just like us, Harold thinks he has a destination in mind. He is willing to use the light of the moon to help him see the way, but doesn’t really think much about it.
Mary of Magdala was healed of ‘seven demons’, and along with some other women accompanied Jesus as he ‘went through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing good news of the Kingdom of God’. Like Harold she was willing to just go along in the light of Son without giving much thought to where the road was going.
We have our own demons, sometimes we call them ‘issues’ or ‘scars’, though. How often do we simply trudge along with our burdens and worries, not even noticing that God, like Harold’s moon, is with us?
Harold keeps on walking along and decides that he needs a forest, or at least one tree. After he draws it, he adds a dragon to protect it and that scares him away from his own tree. Perhaps we sometimes get in over our heads, too, and make decisions that scare us. Then we really do forget that God is with us, don’t we?
Harold’s fright causes him to draw waves and he falls into the ocean and is only able to save himself by drawing a boat. When he reaches land, he draws a mountain, but falls down the far side of the hill. He doesn’t see the moon floating serenely along with him.
For Mary and the disciples, Jesus arrest and crucifixion (Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:49, Matthew 27:55-56, John 19:25) were like falling into deep water or off a cliff. There seemed to be nothing that could save them. Like Harold, they can’t even see the glimmer of light and hope.
Harold draws a balloon to save himself from falling to the bottom of the mountain. We find ways to cope, too, when it seems like the bottom falls out. We may use our savings to try and find a cure, or we buy expensive things to mask the pain, or we shut ourselves off from friends who might help. We too often forget that, like the moon, Jesus is there with us in the depths of our despair.
In the midst of troubles, we may decide that with Harold, we want to go home where everything is safe and familiar. Harold draws a house but it isn’t his. He draws many buildings, but they aren’t his window, either. Mary and the women “prepared spices and ointments” (Luke 23:55-56, Matthew 27:61) for Jesus burial. They resorted to doing the familiar, safe things that helped them feel that things could get back to normal. Even when we build our safe fortresses and do the daily, ‘important’ things, when we feel far from God, none of these will do any good. Harold cannot find his window and we cannot find our way home, either.
Eventually though, Harold remembers where the moon is-it is always right in his window. So he draws the window around the moon and sure enough he finds himself safely home. Sometimes we wish it was that easy. And, when we turn back to face Jesus, it is in fact just that easy.
Mary discovered that when she encountered the Risen Lord on Easter morning and he spoke her name (John 20:1-18). She finds the moon in her window when “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’” Mary sees the Reality of the Risen Lord and is transformed. Harold slips into bed and ‘draws up the covers’.
We can only find Truth and renewal in our lives when we live in the light of the Resurrection, which keeps the moon centered in our window! When we find the real truth, then we find that we are safe in the arms/bed of our loving Father. And that’s the only thing that matters.
So remember that the Light of Christ is with us everywhere we go and that God loves us so much more than we can imagine! That’s good news.Next week we’ll start a new series to take us into the fall (can you believe summer is more than ½ over?).