DON'T PASS MARTHA // Tara Mikes
Growing up “in the church” like I did – feet in the building, heart in the world – it was easy to see the contradictions, failures of promise, and deficiencies of the humans within those walls. In fact, I allowed the deficits I saw between the people and the Jesus they proclaimed to emulate to define my opinion of the church as a whole. The failure of Christians to love perfectly at all times – and to specifically love the ostracized groups that my heart beat for – offended me to the point that I condemned the institution as fundamentally wrong.
Since becoming a Christian a year and a half ago, my heart has changed, but the failures of the people of the church have not. We, as members of C3 Brooklyn, offend one another. We contradict what we know in Christ with how we live out our lives. We overbook our time and fail to meet our obligations. We make mistakes that don’t align with the spiritual uprightness taught to us by the Holy Spirit. Simply put, we sin.
With all of these factors, it became easy for me to forgo relationships with these failed people and go straight to God. He’s perfect, He can’t fail me, He can’t disappoint me in what I truly desire. However, Ps Colin’s message on the interconnected nature of God, His miracles and His people challenged that attitude.
In the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus called a man out of his grave, but He asked Martha to unbind and remove his grave clothes. Jesus completed the supernatural healing, while Martha fulfilled the natural care and nurturing for the body. I know that Jesus brought me through the same process – resurrecting my spirit and delivering me into the hands He ordained capable to participate in the miracle of my rebirth.
However, I find it so easy to let the spirit of self-righteousness creep in and point out others’ flaws while forgetting that God, and not I, has chosen these ‘Marthas’ to help me. It is so easy to forget that I still have bondage knots that I cannot reach. It is so easy to recoil from the touch of those I have been offended by, even when all they are trying to do is loosen me from the knots I am meant to shed. God never works alone – these knots are designed to be untied by His followers, so that we may become bound to one another in the body of Christ. His intention for us is unity under Him. We need one another - His promises and our futures are intimately entwined.