Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 3

Chapter three is Anna's lament. So I'm just going to put the whole thing up here. It's not something that lends itself to summary.

1. Looking up toward heaven, Anna saw a sparrow's nest in the laurel tree. Immediately she began to lament within herself, "Oh, what father begot me, and what mother brought me forth? For I was born only to be cursed before the children of Israel, and reproached, and mockingly cast out of the temple of my God.

2. "Oh, what am I like? I am not like the birds of the heavens, for even the birds are fruitful before you, Lord. Oh, what am I like? I am not like the unreasoning beasts, for even the unreasoning beasts are fruitful before you, Lord."

3. "Oh, what am I like? I am not like these waters, for even the waters are fruitful before you, Lord. Oh, what am I like? I am not like the earth, because the earth bears its fruit in season, and blesses you, Lord."


  1. What do you think about laments such as these? Are they pity parties and complaints that we should get over and scold people who fall into them? Or do you believe God likes that we pour out our sorrow to Him in such a real, heartfelt way? I have my thoughts, but I'm curious about yours.

  2. I think it makes her sound like David or one of the prophets. That sort of made me wonder if she's also meant to be the Anna from Luke 2, but I went to read it and it doesn't seem to fit. But anyway, nice poetic language.

    Other thoughts. Maybe the similarity to David is meant to emphasize the lineage of Mary and therefore Jesus? It could also then be a reference to Israel "mockingly cast out of the temple" (Maccabees), so Anna's redemption is both metaphoric of Israel's redemption and actually ultimately provides it.

  3. Susanne,

    I wouldn't say to just 'get over it'. Here's my thinking: You have to vent in order to get through something. If you keep pain and anguish inside it sits there and grows and poisons you. Knowing that I don't believe that God would have a 'problem' with people pouring out their hearts and their pain to Him. He already knows, after all, but He wants us to rely on Him. So I do think, yes, that when we pour out our pain to Him it's a good thing.

    But on the other side it's entirely possible to keep harping on a pain, worrying at the wound and making it worse. The outpouring, for it to do you any good, needs to be cathartic in the end. So some people can fall into a well of self pity and need to be brought out of it. But whether scolding them is the way to go would depend on the person and other factors.

  4. sanil,

    The author mentions that repetition like what we see here and what we see in the psalms, etc. is a mark of a text that was originally passed down orally. The repetition makes a pattern and makes it easier for people to remember. Like Goldilocks' story. She repeats the same pattern with each discovery. Too big, too small, just right.

    I thought that too, but then that Anna doesn't seem to know Mary and one would think she'd know her own daughter. And there's (if I recall) mention that that Anna had been a widow for a very long time. Which isn't the impression that I get for this Anna - though I could just be making that one up. But in the end I don't think it's the same Anna.

    Oooh...I like your tying together of Anna's redemption and Israel's. Makes sense!

  5. Amber, I liked your summary and I agree with you. Nicely stated!

    I looked up the Anna at the temple and it reads like this:

    Luke 2:
    36 - And there was a prophetess (prophehtis), Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage.
    37 - and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.
    38 - And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

  6. That's a good point and an interesting way to look at it, too. I'm not sure I agree with it, but then I'm biased because I love looking for those connections to Jewish Scriptures and expectation, and finding literary reasons for them. :D I don't immediately go to the practical.

    I agree. Beyond the widow part, she's from the tribe of Asher, and I think that Mary is from Judah. And I also tend to assume that marriage typically happened within a tribe, so I assume Anna was also from Judah. I could be wrong on either of those things, but that's how I've always understood it.

  7. sanil,

    And I tend to think to the practical. At least for things like this. :)

    I'll check the book when I get home and see if the author made any reference to David aside from the one I remember. It's been known to happen. I write the posts with the book at hand so I can glance at it but comments are just going from memory half the time.

    *nods* Mary was from Judah, which is how Christ could claim lineage with David. And I believe you're correct that marriage typically happened within the tribe so it makes sense that Anna was from Judah as well.

  8. Orthowiki says Anna was from the tribe of Levi. Prestigious.

  9. Susanne,

    D'oh! I was googling trying to find Anna's tribe. Ugh. Forgot all about OrthodoxWiki.


    So it's definitely not the same Anna as in Luke anyway since Anna, Mary's mother is from Levi and Anna the Prophetess is from Asher.

    You're a doll!

  10. A doll? Why...yes, yes I am. :)

    I googled "what tribe was anna mary's mother from" and that link came up. I'm glad I could help. I love learning from you two! thanks for some wonderful posts!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...