She’s annoyed. Well of course she is. Can’t understand why he couldn’t see her point of view. Her sister always does this, off in a dreamland, being her usual airhead self. Not realising. She peeps through the open door now, can see her sister still sitting there, with all those men in that room. Imagining it will all be all right, imagining that there won’t be gossip about it later. One woman and all those men huddled close together. Jesus needs protecting from himself, he persists in leaving himself open to criticism and ridicule, does he not care? Martha itches to go in there again, to stop the proceedings, to tell him, once again, to order Mary to come and help her. But even as she ponders this, something else happens, a volcano inside her. Frustration, envy, regret. These things meld together like red hot lava and threaten to burst out of her in some kind of explosive tantrum. She drops to her knees, just like her sister, and from a distance looks up at him, tears searing tracks down her cheeks. If anyone comes in they’ll think she’s an idiot, thinks she’s lost it. Sensible organised Martha, plonked on the floor there, gazing at this man from Nazareth, willing him to look up, to smile, to beckon to her. How long she crouches there is unknown, but as the men start to move and the voices mix into a chaotic babble she hurries up and wipes her face, finds something to busy herself with. The men grumble and banter as they pass her and go outside. She sniffs as she tidies up. And then suddenly she feels a hand on her arm, thinks for a moment that her sister has finally come to help her, then lets out a kind of tiny yelp as she turns and sees him there. And to cap it all he’s smiling.
‘Martha,’ he says, his voice full of that tender smile, ‘you mean so much to me you know.’
‘Was the food all right?’ she snaps.
His smile spreads even wider. ‘The food was great. But you. That’s what I’m talking about. You’re food is always great. It’s vital. It keeps us going, and your house, you’ll never know how much I need it to escape the pressure and the pointing fingers. But you. I’m talking about you Martha. You are so precious. You’re not your sister, of course you’re not. Be at peace. Be yourself. And never be frightened to be with me. You wonderful woman.’
He hugs her for the briefest moment. And then he is gone. And she stands watching the fading figures for the longest time. Everything else forgotten.
Luke 10 vv 38-42