The liturgical calendar of the Orthodox Christian Church designates a week each year to honor the Myrrbearing Women who came to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ after the crucifixion and burial. After most of the others had succumbed to fear and fled, these women showed up to do the right thing by seeing that their friend had a proper burial. There was no reward in doing so. In fact, it was quite the opposite, with a risk of being swept up into scandal for tampering with the corpse. Courageous people show up to do the difficult, sacrificial things in life.
One of my favorite church ladies is Mary Stinson. It’s actually Dr. Stinson, but I knew her for years before her title ever came up. She’s a retired JSU professor and a tireless worker for the Calhoun County Christian Women’s Job Corp (CWJC). This organization provides job readiness and life skills to women in need. They’re not always successful and they can’t reach a multitude of people, but faithful, dedicated volunteers show up to offer tutoring, mentoring, and enthusiastic support to women who seek help. At a recent CWJC fundraiser at Classic on Noble, I watched Mary’s joyful interaction with the attendees and her generous donations in the silent auction. I doubt she’ll ever be famous, but because of her, there are women whose lives will never be the same.
So what’s in it for the Myrrhbearers? Well, they were the first ones to see the risen Christ and to understand that there’s no reason to seek the living among the dead. Watching Mary helps me see what real living is.