Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: JOIE DE VIVRE (delight in being alive) (08/18/16)
- TITLE: Mary and Martha
By Karen Lucille Gross
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â€œMary, where have you been?â€ Martha scolded her younger sister. â€œWhere is the oil that I sent you to the market for?â€
â€œMartha, Martha! I have wonderful news! Jesus is in Bethany! He has been telling the most amazing stories! And healing people! You know the widow of Micah the tailor? He healed her back â€“ you should see her standing straight up! And Lydiaâ€™s son Benjamin: the one born with the club foot? He is running around, healed! And â€¦
â€œYou know that crazy old man â€¦
â€œâ€¦ the one who shouts at all of the children â€¦â€
â€œYes, my sister?â€ the girl answered sweetly.â€
â€œMary, where is the oil you were to purchase?â€
â€œOh, I am so sorry, Martha. I forgot.â€
â€œFoolish girl! The Sabbath begins soon. Do you expect me to bake the challah bread without oil? By now the markets will be closed.â€
â€œI am truly sorry, Martha! But you have yet to hear the most wonderful news: Lazarus invited Jesus to join us for the Shabbat! Just imagine, sister: Jesus is on his way here! Isnâ€™t that wonderful? Thatâ€™s why I was running,â€ Mary continued breathlessly, â€œTo let you know â€¦â€
â€œWonderful? You foolish girl!â€ Martha was about to box the girlâ€™s ear, when their brother Lazarus came running in. He also used the servantsâ€™ entrance to the kitchen, and appeared just as out of breath and disheveled as his younger sister.
â€œMartha, has Mary told you the wonderful news?â€
â€œWonderful?â€ Martha glared at her brother and sister. â€œHow can you expect me to prepare a feast for Jesus and the crowd that always arrives with him? Have you noticed how much those Galilean fishermen eat? And look at this house! I canâ€™t prepare food and clean at the same time â€¦â€
â€œHush, sister!â€ Lazarus gently led his sister to a stool. â€œThe house is fine! Jesus isnâ€™t expecting a feast. We just want to break a bit of bread together while we listen to Jesus. We have plenty of wine and cheese in the storerooms. Mary: go around to the neighbors to borrow oil. There will be time to bake bread before sundown.â€
â€œBread and cheese?â€ Martha muttered. â€œCan you just imagine the waggling tongues at the well tomorrow? Martha served a feast of bread and cheese!â€
â€œIs that all that concerns you, my sister? What those cackling hens around the well gossip of you?â€ Lazarus gave Martha a brotherly embrace. â€œLook, here is Mary back already with two full hins of oil. Start baking bread. I will go to hire a few extra serving girls. Let them do the work, so that you can come and listen to Jesus. Is it not amazing, Martha? He might be the Messiah, and he will be here in our house, soon!â€
Lazarus hurried to the home of his friend Jacob, who had three unmarried daughters, always willing to work for their generous neighbor. He hired all three and sent them to Marthaâ€™s kitchen. Much as he loved and respected his elder sister, running the household since the deaths of their parents, he wished that she would stop fussing. His younger sister Mary was so full of the joy of life! When she sat at the feet of Jesus, she positively glowed like an angel.
Mary slipped out from under Marthaâ€™s watchful eye to join her brother outside, ready to welcome Jesus. As soon as she spotted the crowd, she ran off to join the crowd.
Martha came to stand with Lazarus. â€œNow where did that child go?â€
â€œShe ran to join our guests.â€
â€œTell her to get back to the kitchen! Those girls donâ€™t know a date from a fig! I will have to start my honey dates rolled in crushed almonds all over!â€
â€œMartha â€¦â€ Lazarus began; but just then Jesus was at the door. To her brotherâ€™s horror, Martha went right up to Jesus and demanded, â€œLord, donâ€™t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!â€
â€œMartha, Martha,â€ the Lord answered, â€œYou are worried and upset about many things, but few things are neededâ€”or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.â€
(Scriptures taken from the New International Version, 1979)
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