Dedication of our New Education Building
June 6th, 2015
New Classes begin immediately
We Look Forward to your Visit
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
Take a walk next visit
We Worship a Risen Savior
Come As You Are
We have no expectations of you when you visit.
We are a family, and we enjoy each others company
We have designed programs for all Ages
Education and Fellowship. Our Care Groups and Outreach
Come This Sunday
We look forward to seeing you!
The tough, taciturn hero is a well-recognized figure in American culture. George Washington was a man of few, well-chosen words. Ernest Hemmingway popularized such heroes in his novels, and especially in his Nick Adams stories. In film we idolized Gary Cooper when he refused to expand upon his “yup,” and “nope.” Clint Eastwood seemed content to just grimace much of the time. There are times when words will not suffice. The Bible says so (Romans 8.26). And there are times when an action or expression communicates better than words ever could. I am reminded of Myrna Loy’s face in The Best Years of Our Lives, when she realizes the knock at the door is her husband home from the war, or Tom Hank’s look of astonishment, wonder, and unconditional love when he realizes, in Forrest Gump, that he has a son. No script-writer could improve on those moments.
We like the strong, silent type and tend to associate verbosity with weakness. Everyone knows who would win in a fist-fight between Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen. This is true, at least for men. We tend, however, to associate verbosity in women with assertiveness. Nearly all the strong women who come to mind these last hundred years – from Simone Beauvoir to Margaret Thatcher, from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Barbara Jordan – have been talkers. We do not naturally associate taciturnity in women with strength. In fact the opposite is true - we associate a paucity of words with weakness. This is unfair.
There are many strong women in the Bible. Some are strong and good (Abigail, Ruth), some are strong and sometimes good (Sarah, Michal), and some are strong and never good (Delilah, Jezebel). Perhaps the strongest one of all never had an original thing to say, but what she communicated with deeds took, perhaps, more courage than any other man or woman had to muster.
When we think of Mary and Martha of Bethany, we usually think of Martha as the strong one. She is the older sister. She is in charge of things every time we meet her. She is assertive. She is the only person in the Gospels who looks Jesus in the eye and challenges His handling of things (“Tell my sister to help me!” Luke 10.40; “If you had been here our brother would not have died.” John 11.21). She is the one who makes the most complete and absolute confession of Jesus in scripture (John 11.27). She is strong. Martha is stronger than any of the male disciples. I would like to argue that her silent sister Mary is stronger still.
Although no one allows women to learn alongside men – or to even be in the room when they were learning, she quietly, boldly takes her place at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10.38-42). Although no respectable man will publicly speak to a woman (nor will they touch or be touched by one), she brazenly wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair (John 12.1-8). We are doing these stories for VBS this year, and Mary’s act of wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair is so intimate, and at the same time so shocking that it is hard to stage - even in our immodest culture. You can’t just ask any woman to wipe a man’s feet with her hair (we will have newlyweds playing both parts). Martha asserts herself to fulfill her responsibilities within the norms of her culture. Mary asserts herself to break these norms. Jesus loves, understands, and appreciates them both.
Mary says only one line in all of scripture – a word-for-word repetition of what her sister has already said about Jesus’ dilatory arrival (John 11.32). But Jesus told us to never forget what she communicated (Mark 14.3-9).
Strength doesn’t come from silence or chattiness. Volume has no connection to it. Martha, who uses words and Mary who uses deeds to communicate are both strong because of their unwavering faith that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.