Jesus Our Shepherd
The Woman With The Alabaster Skin: Mary Magdalene
Margaret Starbird

Shrouded in mists of time
she waits alone in the garden,
veiled, her name obscured,
the forsaken Rose.
lost counterpart of Logos, the Word,
Son of the Father,
the eternal He.
forgotten Eros,
the passionate one,
left prostrate on the ground.

"The Bride is as dark -
but lovely -
as the tents of Cedar.
Do not stare at her because she is swarthy,
because the sun has burned her.
She has labored in her brothers' vineyard;
her own she has not kept." (Canticles 1:5-6)

The Bride,
parched from her toil
in the scorching sun,
dark, dried and withered.
Black Madonna,
mother of the afflicted poor,
God's raisins,
burned in the relentless rays
of Logos, victor, judge and sword.
Male image of a sovereign God
raised to heaven's throne -

Eagerly she sought him,
but watchmen came upon her,
struck and wounded her,
the guardians of the walls.
Her plight is mirrored now
in Czestochowa's icon,
a gash upon her cheek,
the abused, abandoned one -
the Derelicta.

Noli me tangere:
"Do not touch me."
For centuries the echo:
Noli me tangere.

The Ascended One,
adored and glorified -
the handsome prince,
Lion of Judah and Lamb of God
seated at the Father's hand
and ruling from his throne -

But now at last he seeks her.
He calls for her.
He knows the name of the Rose.
Exhausted and parched
in wretchedness,
she hears him call her name.
She stirs, raises her head, and looks around.
"Who speaks?"

Her hear beats faster.
"Can it be he?
Has he returned at last for me?"

The garden where he left her
is now a wasteland -
scarred, dried, shriveled.
Trees are stunted,
streams of living water
only a trickle.
Thickets of thorn
surround the garden,
barring his way.
With the sword of truth
he must hack them to pieces
to reach his beloved.

At last he finds her,
still clasping her alabaster jar.
Her joyful tears fall at his feet.
A second time she dries them with her hair.
But now he reaches for her hand.
"Come, beloved, it is time.
Let us go together into the vineyard
To see if the vines are in bloom." (Canticles 7:13)
Hand in hand now,
they walk in the desert garden;
and where their feet tread
a violet springs up from the ground,
an anemone lifts its head.
In their wake
buds swell on barren bough.
"No longer will you be called 'forsaken'
and your lands 'desolate,'
but you shall be called 'beloved'
and your hands 'espoused.'" (Isaiah 62:4)

He whispers her name,
savoring its taste
delighting in the Bride of his longing.