Monday, July 23, 2007

"Martha, Martha..."

Sunday's Gospel was the oh so familiar story of tension between Mary and Martha. On one of the apparently many occasions that Jesus visits his friends in Bethany, Martha's doing all the work, Mary's sitting at his' feet, and suddenly, the sparks fly.

"Don't you even care that she's left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me."

How many variations on this theme have we heard in sermons? There's the premise that we all contain a bit of both Mary and Martha in our personalities and the point is to find the balance. There's the theme that we get all tied up in our doing for God and don't spend enough time being with God. There's the whole: you have to take it in context and this was Jesus (yet again) expressing radical views on women's rights...

All are great interpretations. I wouldn't argue with a single one of those explanations of what this scripture means. However, something our celebrant said yesterday hit me. He said: Martha's home was a safe place for Jesus.

Of course he said a lot more than that, but that particular statement got me thinking off on a tangent... about how I act when I'm visiting very close friends and I feel absolutely safe. So safe in their love for me that I know all the inside jokes and tease them mercilessly, as they do me. In those safe encounters I let down my guard, act goofy, sometimes drink too much and always laugh a lot.

What if... this was nothing more than a verbatim conversation about a standing issue between the three of them? What if... they were only teasing each other, yet again, as only close friends can get away with? What if this story was just that... a story, from the life of the very human Jesus?

1 comment:

HeyJules said...

Hahahaha! Now THAT would be quite the revelation, wouldn't it?

How about you write the next Student Bible, CJ? I'd buy a copy with all your blog posts explaining the other version of the story. One would never be able to accuse you of keeping Jesus in a box, that's for sure. ;-)