Now as long as the living Jesus was with the first Church she was all right. His life was the source of her life; His authority and power meant her existence and unity. But when the Shepherd was smitten the sheep were scattered. When the followers of Christ saw Him powerless and dead they denied Him and fell back to their natural instinct of self-defence, and the first Church died with the death of Christ. It was like the green corn in the field smitten by a flail to the very root. The owner of the corn walks in the field and looks with despair on his perished corn. But it happens often that after a few days the field begins under the sunshine to flourish anew, and the corn grows beautifully and brings forth plenty of fruit.
Mary of Magdala and the other Mary brought this first sunshine over the smitten corn. "He is alive!" This was the tidings of the women on the second morning after His death. This tidings about the living Lord Jesus con-verted Peter and the other disciples again to Christianity. "He is alive"—that was the greatest word ever uttered by any human tongue since the Church was founded. Yea, through this very word the drooping Church was brought again to life. Whatever utterances Peter made during Christ's life were as dead as stone compared with Mary Magdalene's tidings of the living Lord after the catastrophe of His death. The beautiful and true words: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," had no meaning whatever for the future of Christianity in comparison with the certainty that the dead Christ had risen, i.e. that He was Lord even over death. Therefore if I could be convinced that a grain of good as small as the mustard seed should result from the strange quarrels about the primacy of this or that Church—or this or that bishop—I would be very sorry that there did not exist a Church founded upon the memory of Mary Magdalene. For Mary Magdalene, and not St Peter, expressed the first the absolutely decisive revelation, church making and world-changing. "He is alive" was this decisive revelation.