Luke 10:38-42 (Proper 11, Year C)

Martha & Mary, KPB Stevens, gouache and concentrated watercolor, 2022.

Luke 10:38-42

As they traveled, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him to her home. She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at Jesus’ feet and listened to his words. Martha, who was busy with all the details of hospitality, came to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, don’t you care that my sister has left me all alone to do the household tasks? Tell her to help me!” 

Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha! You’re anxious and upset about so many things, but only a few things are necessary—really only one. Mary has chosen the better part, and she won’t be deprived of it.”

The Inclusive Priests for Equality (Organization). (2009). The inclusive Bible: The first egalitarian translation. Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Artist’s Notes: This is another Bible story that I responded to by writing a poem, as well as by making a painting. Here is the poem.

On Martha and Mary
by KPB Stevens

Imagine if Jesus had stayed in the room,
sitting, quietly, always,
in the block of sunlight 
that came through the door,

and the urgency of many tasks—
cooking lentils and enticing odors 
of onions and garlic into the air,
going to the well with a large blue urn—

the urgency was nowhere—

because it was simply the day,
and although Jesus, in the sunlight,
had some things to say, he was content
to rest, his eyes half-closed,
as a breeze shook the curtains
and sent dust wandering across the floor,

until the women sat to resume the talk 
interrupted by their tasks, 

since one day tells its tale to the next,
and there’s always time to find a cross,
and in the endless domestic quiet 
of the world to come
all our urgency is turned to rest.

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