In the National Gallery in London, there is a wonderful 17th Century painting by Diego Velazquez entitled ‘Christ in the house of Martha and Mary’. While Martha is working in the kitchen, Mary is listening at the feet of Jesus.
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/diego-velazquez-christ-in-the-house-of-martha-and-mary - "Photo © The National Gallery, London”.
The observer is left wondering whether the view of Jesus and Mary is through a hole in the wall, or in a mirror, or itself a painting of the scene hanging on the wall.
The picture illustrates the story in Luke 10: 38-42.
Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’
We looked at this story during All Age Worship at Saint Laurence’s Church earlier this year. It asks us whether we spend too much time doing all the chores and not enough time listening to what Jesus has to say to us. It also asks us whether we make sure that those near and dear to us have the opportunity to get this balance right too.
So we pray:
God our Father,
whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends,
Mary, Martha and Lazarus,
in learning, argument and hospitality:
may we so rejoice in your love
that the world may come to know
the depths of your wisdom, the wonder of your compassion,
and your power to bring life out of death;
through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Church of England celebrates Saints Mary, Martha and Lazarus on 29 July.
Team Priest, Forest and Avon Team
Assistant Rural Dean, Alderbury Deanery
This prayer is from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.
Prayer for those visiting our website
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in your own image and gave us the will to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the person of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
we give you thanks for the freedom of communication.
Grant, we pray you, that through our journies in this website we may be led to
charity, prayer, patience and greater understanding of each other
and that we may discern more closely, your will for your pilgrims here on earth.
To the glory of the Word made Flesh.
From Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), which is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.