This is sustaining, for a while. We can all be clanging gongs, marching around doing the work of the kingdom without grace, living for a very temporal affirming reaction. But eventually, the accolades go away, the people you were intending to save dismiss you, the volunteers you mobilized drop out, and you find yourself, alone, in the kitchen, cooking a meal for Jesus that tastes like ash in your mouth.
Oh Martha, I became you, when I thought I was being Mary all along. I imagine you, imagine myself, exerting our savior complexes on the one and only actual Christ. It would almost be laughable, if it weren’t all so tragic.
I know what happened Martha, because it happened to me too. I see your desire to single-handedly fix all the problems (feeding the disciples, cleaning the sheets, acquiring health permits, doing volunteer background checks), your deep-down desire to do good. How this desire, left on its own, morphed into a series of programs and activities that ultimately kept you from Jesus. I see how we got confused about it all, and took the easy route of fixing problems instead of becoming engaged with the lives of those around us. How we found our safety and security in doing, and eventually became brittle with the loneliness of trying to become the savior, instead of listening to him.
I do find comfort in this: Jesus doesn’t shame you. He calls you by name, twice (“Martha, Martha”, the first time cutting through your heart, the second time healing it). He gets to the root of all your existential angst, and he shows that there is no need for the amount of space you carve out for anxiety, worry, righteous indignation.
- D.L. Mayfield, “Martha, Martha,” in Women of the Gospels at Rachel Held Evans’ blog
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