Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I am Mary

Last week, I had to prepare a talk about who I was in the Bible.  It was an assignment for my Bible Study class in which I had to pick the person from Scripture I most identified with, in terms of life and ministry.  I asked a few friends for an opinion, but I didn't necessarily relate to the characters they mentioned.  I think that was more of a case how they related to me.  So, I decided I would pray about it.  I thought I should ask Jesus Himself.

Good idea, huh?  Go to the source.

So, I was praying but not much was really coming.  After the experience I had a few weeks ago when I was touched by the love of the Father (which you can read about here), I was praying a couple of days later.  I was listening to music and on my knees, feeling like I was at His feet.  That's when I felt/heard/realized the Holy Spirit spoke:  You are My Mary.

After I was able to get up off the floor, a long time later, as the weight of this download pinned me prostrate, I was able to process.  It was an identity shift, it moved the fabric of my own personal universe.  I've always thought of myself as Martha - I think most women nowadays too.  I've always been proud of that because Martha, despite her obvious misconception about what Jesus would do for her, she made the turn.  In John 11, she is all the way, on board.  She knows He is the Messiah.  She declares her belief in Him, her belief in Him as the Savior in this world and the next.

Now, He's changed my name.

Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, was perhaps the first official female disciple.  It is remarkable because Jesus choosing her in Luke 10:42 gives us a greater understanding of what the Kingdom should look like.  Paul echoes that in Galatians 3:28 when he writes, There is no male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free, in Christ Jesus.  It was completely counter cultural, an upset in the societal order for Jesus to call Mary as a Disciple.  BUT HE DOES.  

It is clear He meant business with her because her role was just as critical to Him personally as well as missionally.  You see, Jesus not only anointed Mary with His authority to minister to others - but He let her minister to Him.  She anointed Him for burial with her dowry, 3/4 pound jar of spikenard oil.  He let her minister to His heart.  He let her care for Him!  Wow.  What a shift for her too, I bet.

I feel both humbled and wholly empowered to do what He is calling me to do, knowing He is with me.  He has put His mark, His stamp on me and will show me the way to accomplish what He wants to do through me.  It's Him and it's Me.  It's a remarkable feeling, a new level of freedom.

In closing, I'll share the opening of my talk, a little imaginative story-telling.  I went on to explain Mary's call and how I relate to her in more detail but I'll have to post that another time.  Just want to leave you with the possibility of what our God can do for you too, as you seek Him and all that He has to give you. 

A long time ago, there was a woman.  She had a sister and a brother, whom she lived with in a small village, not far from the main town in all the land.  They were not rich but they had enough.  One day, a celebrity teacher and his entourage came to their house for a visit.  It was a huge honor to her host and they knew it.  Her sister, the master hostess, began the preparations for a feast for some 20 people.  Even though they were of low to moderate means, her sister knew how to stretch it.  She was an expert on how to create much from little.  Yet, she often wears herself out in the process.

The motley band of the teacher and his buddies were in the main living room.  They were having a great time, telling stories from the road, laughing and teasing each other; and listening to the teacher explain in deeper detail what his plans were.  It was magical and this young woman was pulled into it.  It was not the typical place for a woman to be, as in those days and still today, some people said a woman’s place was in the kitchen.  Truly, that was where her sister would have preferred her to be.  Still, this woman was different.  She would rather been soaking in the presence of this celebrity, this teacher of renown.  She wouldn’t have been pulled away unless by force.

In her heart of hearts, this woman loved the teacher from the start.  There was a special connection to him she could not put a finger on.  It was not necessary physical, as he wasn’t striking or devastatingly handsome, as many popular men even now have to be.  His charisma overpowered her.  It wa his wisdom, his focus that drew her in.  The shape and color of his eyes – the depth of his soul shining from them – it captivated her.  His words made her feel different inside.  She was uncomfortable but not in a bad way.  It was as if some long dead part of her was coming alive, was waking up from sleep as she listened to Him.

It was love that drew her in.  It was a more complete, sacred, holy feeling than she’d ever experienced.  It radiated from him.  He seemed to have a special eye for her too, not just because she wasn’t doing what was expected of her.  She was hungry and he knew it.  More than that, he had the food to feed her.  He admired her.  He saw her devotion and her sweetness.  He saw she cared for him, cared what he had to say – not because she could get something from him, like so many around him.  She wanted what he came to give.  She loved him for who he was, not just what he could do for her.  Their bond was unique and it stood out.

As the woman sat rapt, she did more than listen.  She internalized what he was saying.  She believed him with her whole heart.  The way he talked about his father was so unusual.  The way he talked about their God so unique.  She was completely present in the moment and felt like she could stay comfortable in his presence forever.  In fact, she was so lost in what he was saying, she didn’t notice her sister passive-aggressively berating her to their guest!

She shrank back, fearful of what he will say.  Would he reject her?  Would he send banish her back to the kitchen with her sister?  Would she have to settle for an ordinary life?  After hearing him teach, after sitting so comfortably in his presence…the idea of not being with him, of not being part of what he was doing, was unthinkable. If he told her to, she would go back to the kitchen, but she dreaded it.  She silently prayed to Yahweh to help her to stay where she was.  She wanted what the teacher had and she wanted her life to change.  She wanted freedom and she knew he was the way to it.  He was different than anyone else she’d ever met. 

A word from him would change her whole life.  So she held her breath.  She felt like she was on the teetering edge between life and death.  It all depended on him, on his decision.  He wielded authority like no one else, which is why her sister went to him.  When he walked in the house, he became the head.  He was head of this house, now, too. 

Her future would begin or end with his word.  So, she sat there and awaited her fate……

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