The reading in the Magnificat in celebration of St Martha is wonderful, focusing on Love, deep love and obedience from Martha and yet tinged with sorrow at the death of Lazarus, her brother. The sisters shift from the alabaster jar (in this instance, Mary is identified by John), to obedience at Jesus’ feet, to the utter loss and despair of their brother but all the time they are encompassed by Jesus’ love that is scattered amongst the stars and the stardust that falls on us all.
John 4:7-16 expresses God’s love for us through Christ, John 11:15 expresses Jesus’ love for Martha and it is reiterated in Luke 10:42. He shares in their desolation at Lazarus’ tomb in John 11:40 and 11:19-27. But it is with the alabaster jar that my heart breaks, with it, and in the anointing so full of love and grace and selflessness. The oil, the tears, the love that is revealed at the breaking of the jar and in the breaking of my heart – like the breaking of bread at the Eucharist. Again, I recognise that my heart was broken to reveal Christ’s everlasting love for me, and Malcolm (Guite) introduces his poem so lovingly with his acknowledgement at the God of the Cosmos entering not only ‘a vulnerable man into the particular fragility’ of our human hearts but IN our hearts at the moment they break and in doing so, reveals our vulnerability and despair. It is here that Christ waits for us to anoint us in his love.
My drawing is attempting to illustrate the breaking of the alabaster jar and the ointment not only flowing to anoint me but also to anoint the whole world by entering into the Cosmos, as a truly universal all encompassing God.