faith · http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post · motherhood

One Thing Needful…

‘Kitchen scene with Christ in the house of Martha and Mary’,  Velázquez, 1618
Sometimes I wonder why Jesus didn’t just speak and make the dinner appear.  Is that what Martha is thinking in this painting?  
The look on her face is very scary.  
I wonder…what does the look on my face say about what I am feeling, what I am experiencing as I go about my day.  
Why do I resist?  
Look how thick Martha’s fingers look, how muscular she appears.  Her sleeves are rolled up, and her head is covered for work…not like the flowing feminine coverings of the other women.  Mary in the background looks beautiful.  
Martha appears to be built for hard labor…in fact she looks masculine.  
But it is the look on her face that gives me chills.  
It makes me want to look in the mirror.  
Her face personifies bitterness… and every woman who has let the exhaustion of work and the weight of womanhood chisel her muscles and strengthen her back.  
I suspect that Martha wants desperately to listen to the Master, to be with him, not stuck in the kitchen with smelly fish.  
But, does she?  
Maybe she is so far gone, so burdened, so distracted, so inflamed with self pity that she wants neither…she does not want to serve, and she does not want to worship.  
Her face screams, “My life stinks.”  
 What story is she telling herself over and over in her mind?

I am tired…
I don’t deserve this…
I am ugly like these fish…
I deserve to be in this kitchen…
I should have known He prefers pretty girls…
My mom was right, life is just work and then you die…
Mary is not all that He thinks she is, I know her, we’re sisters remember…
I am not smart enough to talk to Him anyway..
I am so selfish for feeling this way…
This kitchen is the problem…
I need a new kitchen…
Please somebody…
Help me…

She finally drives herself mad…she can no longer contain this obsession.
“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  
Tell her to help me.”

The story continues,
Don’t you care…
Left me…
By myself…
Help me… 

And His reply, so cutting, so raw, so real, so true, 
so not what she wants, but Everything she needs.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed,
 indeed only one.”

What is the one thing needful?  Did Martha stop cooking and join her sister?  
I think not…everyone must eat, 
Food needs cooking… 
Clothes need washing, kids need cuddling, husbands need loving, 
Floors need mopping, bills need paying, gardens need weeding, 
Prayers need saying, 
Friends need calling, plans need keeping, books need reading, enemies need forgiving,
Life needs living.  

And I wonder…
One thing needful…
Indeed only one…



       
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