Several months ago, a member of our congregation shared an article with me from the Wall Street Journal. In it, Rebecca McLaughlin writes, “Mary Magdalene was one of the many women among Jesus’ disciples, and on the third day after witnessing his crucifixion, she went to Jesus’ tomb to tend to his body. Like Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene claimed that she had talked with angels. Then she reported that she had met with Jesus too. The first Mary said that Jesus had been supernaturally born from her womb; the second, that he had been miraculously reborn from the tomb.”
“When Mary Magdalene first made her claim, the followers of Jesus were a tiny Jewish sect. Today they represent the largest global religion: 31% of humans say they are Christians. According to the Pew Research Center, this proportion will likely grow to 32% by 2060, while the proportion of people who identify as atheist, agnostic or not religiously affiliated will shrink from 15% to 13%.”
McLaughin continues, “Far from being a white Western religion, Christianity was multi-ethnic from the first, and today Christians are by far the world’s most racially and culturally diverse religious group. By 2060, 40% of the world’s Christians could live in sub-Saharan Africa. Though China is today the global center of atheism, there will soon be more Christians in China than in the U.S. Fenggang Yang, a leading sociologist of religion, believes China could be a majority-Christian country by 2060.”
In every generation following his resurrection, the Jesus movement has welcomed new disciples. And those disciples, in turn, have shared the good news of God made known in Christ.
As we embark on the Holy Week journey together, I invite you to consider these questions:
1) How does your discipleship embody Christ’s Great Commission?
2) In what ways could your discipleship be strengthened?
3) What resources does the church provide to help you engage your faith more deeply?
Source: Rebecca McLaughlin, The Wall Street Journal, “When Mary Met the Angel,” Saturday/Sunday, December 24-25, 2022, Pg. C1.