The Resurrection Of Christ: Mary Magdalene Meets Supreme Court Plaintiffs

by Mary Button

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For Lent this year I created a special Stations of the Cross series for Believe Out Loud chronicling the history of the LGBT movement. By incorporating images depicting the struggle for LGBT equality through the 20th and 21st century, these stations serve as a devotion for LGBT Christians and allies to enter into the story of Christ’s suffering and experience a relationship with a God who suffers with us.

The LGBT Stations of the Cross were shared widely online and in congregations throughout the Lenten season.

In March, the Stations were on display during the Interfaith Prayer Service in Washington, D.C., preceding the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Traditionally, the Stations end with Christ being laid in the tomb, but in recent years, artists have added a fifteenth station depicting the Resurrection of Christ. When Kittredge Cherry, a curator of LGBT Christian art, interviewed me about this project, she asked why I had not included a resurrection image in the series. She rightly pointed out that the absence of images of the resurrection is deeply felt in the LGBT community.

In response, I promised to create a fifteenth station after the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality.

I felt confident that Prop 8 and DOMA would be ruled unconstitutional, an anomaly for me as I don’t exactly have a reputation as an optimist among my friends, and that the final station would be celebratory.

However, even if the ruling had gone the other way, it is clear that we are living through a sea change on the issue of LGBT rights. The demonstrations at the Supreme Court during Holy Week were their own testimony to the paradigmatic shift in American views on marriage equality.

From the start, then, there were two images of resurrection floating in my head—one featuring joyful activists at the Supreme Court in the spring, and another with those same activists celebrating the defeat of Prop 8 and DOMA.

Happily, the final station is celebratory. In it, Mary Magdalene becomes the first of the apostles to be a witness to the resurrection. Her encounter is framed by drawings of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier at their wedding ceremony and another of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer.  

The grouping of Perry, Stier, Windsor and Spier with Mary Magdalene carries with it a deep theological significance.

Mary Magdalene was a trusted disciple and an essential figure in Jesus’ ministry. She joined John and Mary at the foot of the cross, then laid Christ in his tomb. Yet, her history has been revised and re-written, casting her in the role of the harlot with no evidence to support this claim.

History has stigmatized Mary Magdalene, ignoring her deep inner truth in favor of reckless speculation about possible sexual relationships with Christ and John the Baptist.

To me, Mary Magdalene embodies the resurrection as much as the risen Christ. Her meeting with the resurrected Christ is testament itself to the reality, in Augustine’s words, that she was an “apostle to the apostles.”

It is only fitting that Mary Magdalene would accompany the women in this painting, who together challenged systematic discrimination against LGBT people in our nation’s highest court.

With faith, I pray that this image will signify a greater shift in public opinion as we move beyond baseless stigmatization of the LGBT community to embrace our diversity as a blessed gift from God. 

Image via Mary Button; View the entire series on Believe Out Loud’s flickr page

Comments (3)

Kittredge Cherry

Thank you, Mary Button and
Thank you, Mary Button and Believe Out Loud! I’ve been eagerly waiting for the Resurrection since Easter! I love the way that your painting makes the glorious connection between the crucified Christ coming out of the tomb to new life and persecuted queer people coming out of the closet to celebrate our love with weddings that are just as valid as any other.

When I first fell in love with my partner Audrey in the 1970s, the idea of a gay or lesbian couple getting legally married was unthinkable to us. It seemed as unlikely as a dead man rising from the tomb. Thank God we lived to see this day! Surely Jesus is dancing at all the same-sex weddings happening in the wake of the Supreme Court decision!

I blogged about this image today at Jesus in Love. You can read my reflection at this link:

Resurrection added to LGBT Stations of the Cross: Jesus rises with marriage equality

Gregory Rienzo,Ed.D

Thanks you to the authors and
Thanks you to the authors and artists, especially for the new way to view sacred history.


Who wrote the Gospels? For
Who wrote the Gospels? For what purpose were the Gospels written? Is there any evidence to support the belief that these four 1st century books were written as eyewitness, historical accounts?

If it turns out that we do not know who wrote these books, and we do not know for what purpose these books were written (for all we know, they could be historical fictions, such as Homer’s Iliad, written for entertainment purposes only), then doesn’t the entire foundation of the “evidence” argument for the Resurrection fall to pieces?

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