I have always had a soft spot for Martha in the Bible.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my great grandmother was called Martha and you can read a little bit about her and see a photo in this old post from unravelling-edges.
Perhaps it's because I can relate to Martha's practical nature, the attitude of getting things done albeit sometimes grudingly!
Last week at church the gospel reading was from John 12:1-8. It gave another glimpse into Martha’s world.
After church I decided to write some more to the story, imagining her thoughts as she remembered her encounters with Jesus. I thought I would share it with you as we begin Holy Week and we remember.
The Musings of Martha
When I wake at my normal early hour the lingering scent of expensive perfume makes me smile as I vividly remember the furore of the day before.
It had started off so ordinarily, I was busy with my extra chores readying the house for the Passover. I’ve become more content recently in my daily routine, accepting that Mary is the daydreamer and I will always have the greatest share to do. Besides I wanted everything perfect, Jesus was coming to stay again. He is such a dear friend to us all. How could I not want to please the man who had raised my brother from the dead?
While the men reclined, as is the custom, I served the wine and made sure our guests wanted for nothing. Suddenly I became aware that Mary was missing from our gathering, when Jesus is around, she usually hangs on his every word.
Then she appeared with a jar, I recognised it at once as the expensive perfume we keep in our room. Sometimes we would open the lid just for a moment to inhale its glorious aroma.
My sister resumed her position at Jesus’ feet and proceeded to pour the oil on them. Not just a few drops either but the entire jar was lovingly spilled out.
Well I wasn’t the only one who gasped at such an act but this was only the beginning.
She hadn’t thought to bring a towel; it’s typical of her to be ill-prepared. Instead she undid her hair, it tumbled freely and she shamelessly used it wipe his feet.
Such extravagance, such love. I have learned over the past few weeks that my sister has never deliberately tried to win Jesus’ favour over me, this was just the way she was. I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I watched wishing I could be so daring.
Then Judas spoke up, denouncing this wasteful act.
“The money poured out here could have been better spent on the poor and needy.”
As the one responsible for our household budget, I know the cost of this oil and once I might have agreed wholeheartedly with Judas.
But Jesus is so wonderfully special; he brought my brother back from the dead. I’ve seen his miracles but more than that he has looked into my eyes so deeply I know he sees my very heart and loves me in a way no other ever has.
Jesus reprimanded Judas saying he will not be here with us for long and I am fearful of what the days ahead will bring. I don’t know how this story will end.
But as long as his fragrance fills this place I will always remember.