empty jars

You find yourself out of conversation with God. You rack up a decent request list, particularly keen on a changed heart. Not to see God. Just so you can live without feeling like crap. 

 You flip through gospel. You're at the house of Mary and Martha, same place Jesus is at for dinner. 

Martha's doing the normal thing. She's dropping dishes and frantic about the overcooked peas. 

Jesus is in the living room. Mary is at his feet. She's at his feet, she's lost in the presence of God. Her being rests at the feet of God. Hanging on every word coming from His mouth, still in the silence. 

Martha comes in, wringing her hands. "There's burnt potatoes and the bread is stale. God. Won't you make Mary come and help?" 

And Jesus, he sees Martha, dish towel in hand, face red from the heat of the oven. Frenzied and stricken. He looks down. Mary, sitting at his feet. Fully content. She knows peace. 

"Martha? You're so anxious. You're so troubled. But only one thing matters, and that's what Mary has chosen. I'm not going to take this from her. This is the main course. This is what satisfies." 

Jesus told that lady at the well, he told her that he was Living water. He was a source of water in her heart: a spring that wells up, into eternal life. 
He told the folk a few days later that he was the Bread of Life, that if they ate him, they'd be satisfied. 

We carry around our water jars. Take them to the well, again and again? Chomp down on the bread, paying seven times the amount for the gluten-free version? 

For a moment, we're there. We're on the floor. We're at his feet. And then Martha walks in. Feeling foolish, we stand, rummage around. Do circles around Jesus. Bring out a plate of corn. Spill sauce, anxiously dab at the carpet before it stains. 

We're on our knees, cleaning spilled sauce when we realise where we are. What've been doing? Banging pots and pans, putting up with the stale air of the kitchen. Spinning in circles around Jesus, too fast and long to decipher a word he says. Too busy throwing plates and spoons to notice. 

Only one thing matters


Flipping forward. The girls' brother, Lazarus, got sick. They sent word to Jesus. Before he came, they'd buried him in the tomb. 

Jesus loved Martha, and Mary, and Lazarus. 

Martha heard that Jesus had come. She got up, left the house, ran to meet him. "Master, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give to you." She proclaims her belief. Then goes and tells her sister, "the Teacher is here, and he is asking for you." 

Immediately, Mary jumps up from her seat. She runs to where Jesus is, to where He's summoned her. She sees him... and she falls to her knees, sobbing, at his feet. "Master, if you'd been here, my brother would not have died." 

He said, "Where did you put him?" 
Jesus, he wept. 

Jesus says, remove the stone. Martha objects: "He's been there four days. It stinks." Jesus looks Martha in the eye and he says, "didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" He turns to everyone else, says to remove the stone. 

Calls their brother out of his death. 

Mary stays in the house, with the comforters. Martha gets up and she leaves and she meets Jesus before he can get to the house, stands before Jesus and makes her statement. She's come for resurrection and restoration of a buried body. She knows Jesus can raise the dead. 

Mary hears that Jesus has come and is waiting outside the village. She runs. She falls at Jesus' feet. His presence moves her, and she falls. She doesn't want to stand. She says what Martha said, that if he'd been there, Lazarus wouldn't have died. And then she cries, sobbing, falling apart at the feet of Jesus. 
And Jesus weeps with her. 

Martha knew the truth. She loves Jesus. We're struggling, we remember the presence of God? -- and we run to him... for healing. For resurrection of our death and restoration of our buried bodies. We confess our belief and our longing. "I've known who you were from the beginning, Jesus." Then, we leave. 

Mary? There's no way she can stand. She's at his feet again, she's as Jesus' feet. Tears and snot and fear and sorrow, broken and broken and fallen apart, fallen apart the only place she wants to be. She's in the presence of God, and she's not going anywhere. 

Jesus opens his mouth to open the tomb? And Martha holds out her hands. "No! It's been too long. It's gonna smell. Leave it." 

He opens it, anyway. 

There's the power of God, it's an extraordinary thing. 
But... we crave his power for the improvement of our lives -- 

we don't want to sit in his presence,
Our being motivated by who he is. 

We plug in to charge our lives. 

Instead of resting with Jesus
that changes our lives. 


It's a little further along. Six days before Passover, to be exact. Six days before God offers Himself as food and drink. The source of the satisfaction of the soul. 

Martha serves. Lazarus sits at table with Jesus. 
Mary comes in, jar in hands. 
Without wavering, without shifting, she lowers herself. She's at the feet of Jesus. Tilting the jar over his feet. 
The perfume is spilled out, poured out. All its worth is completely spent. 

The fragrace of the perfume fills the house. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars, poured over the floor, over the feet of Jesus. Drying his feet with her hair. 

The disdain, the disproval pronounced. "She just wasted that. She just wasted it." Jesus is considered to be of no worth. They preach and say and live that there are a thousand, thousand thousand better worths than to pour what you've been given over his feet, at his feet. This is what is pressed into us by this earth. To be at his feet is to waste it. This is what they preach. There is such a thing as spending too much on His feet. Too much being in the presence of God. Come on, they say, tap into the power and make a life that matters. 

Mary spends herself on Jesus, keeping back no single dollar cent, no perfumed scent. On the floor, at his feet. She's with Jesus.

She hears them talking. She wasted it. She spent it wrong. 

She hears Jesus. "Leave her alone. She's annointing me. You don't always have me." She hears Jesus: Mary, you haven't wasted it. 

Days later, they know Jesus on the cross. 
The fragrance still fills the house. 

Her hair is still wet with perfume.
She still sits in the presence of God.


No comments:

Post a Comment

comments are fun.