We gathered Monday morning at Martha and Mary’s home. All of us like children that had received gifts that we didn’t expect. We entered the sisters’ home in a holy joy we had never known. All eleven of us along with Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his wife Mary, Salome, Joanna, Veronica and Mark. This created work for Martha, but I could tell she didn’t mind one bit. We fell into each other’s arms in joy, laughter and free flowing tears.
Mary, Martha’s sister, beautiful Mary washed our feet as we came in. We objected but Mary softly said, “It is what the Master would have done.” We turned silent for a moment, drinking in the memory of a night that was so filled with fear and tension. Jesus washed our feet that night and now Mary does, but the room is filled with quiet Shalom and joy rather than foreboding.
Ecstatic conversation resumed and I, the disciple whom Jesus loved, received my foot washing last. When finished I said, “Mary, please dear one, let me wash your feet.” She flashed her beautiful shy smile and slightly lifting up her skirt, allowed me to wash her feet. As the water lapped over her feet and my hands caressed her beautiful feet, I began to cry remembering Jesus doing this for me. A memory that I know I will never forget. Then I began to laugh and looked up at Mary who looked at me quizzically and she began to laugh. Finally, she said, “What in the world are you laughing at, youngest one? Are my feet that funny?”
I finally said, “How our Master has turned the world upside down. You take the servant’s role and wash our feet, and I, a man, wash a woman’s feet. What is next? The freeing of slaves?”
She smiled and kissed me and whispered, “I think so youngest one, yes. The slaves will become brothers and sisters, like us.” I smile back knowing we were only at the beginning of what was ahead of us. We then reclined to eat a delicious meal prepared by Martha and her servants. Martha….she can cook! Mary went up to Martha and whispered in her ear. Martha drew back with a look of shock and began to laugh loudly. Next thing we know, Martha was calling the servants to recline with us at the meal. We all looked at each other, not knowing what to do. The servants looked like they had seen a ghost.
Finally, Thomas broke the silence with a one liner that only Thomas could come up with. “Is this really that shocking? After all, our best friend is walking around after sleeping for 3 days in a grave.” An explosion of howls and laughter erupted all around the room. The servants had no idea what was going on and we experienced our first telling of the Good News. Simon the Zealot told the servants all about Jesus and that He had risen. Phillip chimed in that He is not just for some people, but He is for ALL people, including slaves. Joanna added “and women”, Bartholomew added “and children,” Mary Magdalene added, “and the sick, lame, blind and poor.”
And so there we sat on Monday morning, trying to take in all that had happened. As we continued, we wondered what it all meant. Then Jesus came through the backdoor and stood in our midst. We joyfully shouted, “Master!” Jesus smiled and looked at Martha and asked if she had anything to eat. Again we laughed until we couldn’t breathe.