Sunday, 22 July 2012

Mary Magdelene's Day

Before church this morning, we needed to access weekend medical services for my sister in law Ann to nip in the bud a common-place infection. Thanks to Brenda and Les and a little help also from internet mapping, we were comforted to locate the right place to visit in Vinaròs town centre, not far from the Portico. By the time I was finishing my first sermon for St Mary Magdalene's Day, Ann, Eddie and Clare appeared at the back of church, mission accomplished.

St Mary Magdalene is also the patron saint to whom the Catholic Parish church just along the street from the Portico is dedicated. For us it was a special occasion to pray for a local church community which has been so supportive in enabling our small Anglican enterprise to flourish. After the service it was my turn to drive south to Alcossebre for the noon Eucharist in the wonderfully cool church of San Cristobal. This time I remembered to take my camera.
In the light of contemporary biblical study, I find the so-called 'Christian' tradition that Mary Magdalene was a born again former prostitute somewhat spurious, and at odds with descriptions of her that imply she was someone of standing with independent means.

Having said that, fully aware of the persistence of such sexist myth in popular thinking, it was hard to resist speculation as I drove as to whether those poor sex workers who sit scantily clad under umbrellas in the heat of the day along the edge of the N340 waiting to be picked up by lonely truckers would be taking a holiday on this festive day. Not so. I saw one on the way down, two on the way home. Someone told me that they are more than likely to be of Eastern European origin. As in other countries, this kind of economic enterprise is proving difficult for police and other authorities to control. There are no Health and Safety checks and balances out there on the roadside.

Like it or not, it's a contemporary form of slavery and it requires commitment from all men to abolish, as it's clear that men are the primary consumers of this degrading commodity. Is it not possible to devise better remedies for the loneliness of long distance drivers?

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