The Wait and the Wonder

graveThe hiss of my name draws me from a restless dream. Momentarily, relief surges through me; the gnarled hands pushing up from the soil to grasp at my brother’s ankles are not real. ‘Just a dream, just a dream’, my heart pounds loudly.

“Martha!” I hear the fear in my sister’s voice.

I stumble from the sleeping palette, remembering how Mary had coaxed me to leave Lazarus’ side in the night. “I will watch him for a few hours,” she had said. “He seems slightly better.” Because I was exhausted from two constant days and nights of standing vigil, I had agreed. And it was true that Lazarus no longer thrashed around in pain, even though his body still burned with fire.

Now I drop to my knees by his side. My fingers graze his forehead; its scorching heat shocks me. Only then, in the candlelight’s flicker, do I notice that Lazarus’ eyes are open. Yet, it is not my gaze he holds; his glazed eyes already seem to roam worlds far beyond our own. Continue reading

Are you a Popcorn-Thinker?

I’ve coined—what I think—is a new term: popcorn thoughts. It refers to that chaotic frenzy of thoughts and worries darting around my mind a great deal of the time. Pop. There’s another one—worrying that I’m the only one whose mind is frenetic and unruly, and that right now you’re all staring blankly at the screen asking, ‘what is she on about?’ Continue reading

The Perfume of Death

This Easter, I am taking us ‘inside’ several encounters Jesus had near his death. This first one takes place just days before the Last Supper.

My fingers shake ever so slightly as I slip—unseen—into Simon’s house. I can hear the laughter coming from the back, and I grip the jar a little tighter. At home, the idea had seemed perfect. What better way to show my love and devotion than to pour out my most precious possession on him who has saved me…loved me…healed me? Yet in this unfamiliar house full of men, my resolve wavers. What will his disciples think? What will my brother Lazarus think? And Martha? Will she wear that disapproving pout for the next few days, the one that—without saying a word—shouts, ‘you are such a fool, Mary’? Continue reading

The Empty Cushion

Today our journey finds us winding down a dusty path between simple mud-brick homes. As we duck into the narrow entrance of one of these, we hear the clatter of a falling jug followed by a soft curse. After the bright sunlight, it takes our eyes a while to adjust to the dark interior, and so we hear the talking and laughter before we actually see the group of people reclining at a low table. From behind a wall a woman appears, the shards of a broken jug in her hands. As she leans down to speak to the rabbi, her eyes narrow accusingly on the single woman in the group. Continue reading