Faith of . . .

I saw a wonderful meme on Facebook the other day, it read:

If you want to experience a truly authentic Easter worship service

hold it at first light, and only invite women!

Reading Luke 24:1-12, all I can say is, amen. Pious, observant Jewish women were the first to witness the resurrection (“On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment” 28:56b). And, not just any women, but some very particular women:

… he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources (Luke 8:1-3, emphasis added).

These are the same women who supported and financed Jesus’ Galilean ministry. The same women who stood at the cross:

And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his [Jesus’] acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things (Luke 23:48-49).

And, the same women who witnessed Jesus being laid in the tomb:

Then he [Joseph of Arimathea] took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.  It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.  The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid.  Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:53-56).

There is a remembrance on the part of the women, of all that Jesus had said to them in Galilee:

Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words (vs.6-8).

But, they cannot convince the men: “It seemed to them an idle tale” (Luke 24:11) which can be literally translated as if it were humbug or the ranting of a delirious person (hōsei lēros). This may be because neither the women nor the men can attach any meaning to the resurrection. Nor can Peter, “who got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened” (24:12). Another way to translate Peter’s amazement is that “he went off wondering at what had happened.” It appears that seeing leads to wonderment, not to faith.  We see the same wonderment in the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the account of which follows immediately after today’s text (vs. 13-35). Jesus finally reveals himself to the two men, but “… in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering” (vs. 41). It is only when Jesus teaches them the meaning of his resurrection, that faith comes upon the men:

Then he [Jesus] said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things… (Luke 24:44-49).

Faith, it seems, comes from experience, remembering, and exegesis (the critical interpretation of Scripture):

Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us? (vs. 32).

But, it began at the crack of dawn (literally, at the deep of dawn), and in the presence of a group of loving and faithful women, who had given Jesus their all, from the first to the last – hence Luke’s repeated reference to Galilee. Tell me again why the hymn is Faith of Our Fathers, and not Faith of our Mothers?