In holy scripture there is as little said about the death of Eve as there also little said about the death of Mary.
In Genesis we know that Eve gives birth to Seth and following that account of life coming into the world there is nothing about her life departing this world.
We know that Adam having lived I think 930 years eventually finds his rest – he must have been exhausted. We have clarity on many deaths including extraordinary clarity on the death and resurrection of Jesus. But for Mary and for so many women there is an eery silence.
We know that in her life and following the death of Jesus, Mary continues to have an important presence in the church. We know the traits, attributes and qualities of her character from the young girl who bears a child to the mature woman who witnesses her son’s death to the older lady who rejoices with the whole church of Christ in the knowledge of the promises of God realised and the joy of the hope which has been restored to humanity through Jesus.
On the Reredos behind me, there is a theological relationship between the two women, Eve, and Mary which we might if we are not careful only be seen as one nullifying or neutralizing the other to give us a cost neutral situation with these two women who we encounter in our tradition of scripture and fellowship. You will see on the Reredos that the expulsion from Eden is resolved through his presence of Christ being made known at the annunciation and yet in our understanding of God and this theology, it isn’t just about the return to life as it was known, nor is it simply the appeasement of a past wrong and stuff resolved. This feast of the Assumption is about restoration plus!
Mary is not just the new Eve… she is the new Eve on steroids… the New Eve Plus so much more! Eve received the breath of God – Mary receives the person of God and is not only the first Christian, but she is the first Christian and disciple plus plus!
The assumption reminds me that in her life and even in her death and assumption of body and soul she doesn’t simply restore the old… she give us a glimpse that the old have been resolved and there is more to be revealed than we can immediately see or know.
This feast is about God – these feasts are always about God and how God will always do more than we can imagine or expect.
The Quality of Mary is that as far as we can understand her, she doesn’t remain faithful and obedient and affirming of God’s kingdom and love in her life because she seeks reward – yet to her all is restored and more.
She is not a Job character who looses everything in order to have all restored to her threefold. She doesn’t need that sort of a test – and as we know, Jesus is in his ministry towards his mother is mindful of her needs even as he hangs on the cross giving his mother into the care of St John… perhaps the lesson we might hope to remember for ourselves when we think we have been cast out of paradise or lost everything is that we cannot and do not loose. We cannot have everything taken away from us. For that which remains is the enduring love and possibility of God to surprise.
And the Assumption is God being super surprising to the church and to us – God being excessive in the message he wants his creation to hear –
God excessiveness of God’s love towards humankind is just momentarily seen in this feast where Mary having fulfilled have vocation and having done her part could have rested with her ancestors/ But no!
The God we seek to know will always be God and do more than we can imagine to signify to us that we have no grasp on God – ultimately we have no understanding of the breadth, the depth of God’s love towards the human race. And if Eve is the first woman – Mary is now the primus inter pares – the first amongst equals and a reminder is given to us that in her assumption God will always do the unexpected and the catalyst for the unexpected part of God’s work is God’s love towards the virgin, towards you and me.
We worship a God who is not only God – but God of gods who does More and reveals more in love than any other divine agent of love.
God’s love of his creation is more than we can ever grasp and this feast shows me that God will always do what God desires and that desire will always be revealed to be more than we can imagine today.
Today we might celebrate Mary’s assumption and accomplishment of faith and the revelation to her of God’s promise realised – but the real celebration is that we ain’t seen half of what God has in store for his creation. Not that I want us to fantasise about stuff that we cannot know. But I want us to be reassured that the revelation of Divine love has no limits to it’s imagination or to what It will and is accomplishing.
This feast reminds us that God has no restrictions on what God will reveal In love.