“Do not cling”

In the garden Christ gently but deliberately says to Mary Magdalene, “Noli me tangere.” “Do not touch” is a misleading translation that deprives us of the significance of what is happening here. “Do not cling” is a more accurate rendering of the Greek, for surely we do need to touch, to touch the hem of the garment, to touch the wounds and feel them. But we must not cling, for that carries the danger of becoming dependent, of clutching or holding on in the wrong way. I love the statue of the Walking Madonna by Elisabeth Frink in the cathedral close at Salisbury. Here is this young woman who strides out boldly into the future, her one hand strong and determined, while the other is vulnerable. She knows that she has seen the Lord, the risen Christ; she has heard the resurrection message and now she is ready to cross the threshold and engage whatever lies before her. What gives her the strength to move forward with today: such assurance, calling out that loving welcome, that Deo Gratias, to a future that is unsure, unknown?

From To Pause at the Threshold: Reflections on Living on the Border by Esther de Waal. © 2001. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com

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