Our patronesses: the OGs Martha and Mary
There is only one Martha in the kitchen for me, and her last name isn’t Stewart.
It was a dinner, one special guest, and one highly stressed female. Perhaps it was the lentils that did in her in or maybe it was the fish. Or perhaps she felt left out. She really wanted to hear what he was saying, but people MUST be fed. And there was her sister Mary just kicking back and listening….Yep Martha had had it. People MUST BE FED.
Oh admit it. You would have had it too. Yes, you sitting there stressing out about tomorrow’s turkey and calculating the likelihood of food poisoning or bitching because Cousin Jane didn’t volunteer to do ANYTHING and Aunt Ethel is making the pies (bless her heart!) and you’ll have to take a hatchet to the crust.
So Martha expressed her unvarnished opinion (rather more nicely than you did last Christmas when you exploded at Uncle Bill for overcooking the potatoes) and…well…you know what happens next. Let’s just say cooking for Jesus wasn’t the reward that Martha expected.
Lots of people end the story there. A mistake. Go further in with Martha. What’s she doing later? Martha is making one of the greatest proclamation of faith in the New Testament, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” She is still cooking too, even for Jesus. (I would have given that up after the first experience.)
The Christian year, the liturgical year, follows the life of Jesus. It begins with the quiet promise of the Incarnation, gets its jubilant on for his birth and revelation to the world, grapples with his mystery, plunges into confusion and fear with his death, rises to a jubilant peak with him as he rises, feels at bit abandoned when he ascends, centers with the coming of the Holy Spirit, then ends on a steady plateau of focusing on his teachings. It does this year after year, connecting the present with the past, the future, the eternal.
And for every turn of the calendar, every change, every revelation, his followers have found way to make it concrete in food, or words, or music, or drink, or things. Every year there are times whether we know it or not, like Martha, we still cook for Jesus: celebrating his life, deepening our understanding of his mysteries, making us one.