Friday, July 22, 2005

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Who Do You Say That I Am?
A heart, a jar. A heart ajar.
Far away in time, women
Speak and are heard,
They write and are read.
They look back over time and
Try to know me, seek me between,
Behind, beneath the evangelist’s words.
They name me: Mary of Bethany, Mary of
Magdala. The quiet one, or the sinful one, does
It matter? I was the believing one, the only one who
Understood what lay ahead, who Jesus was, where his
Way would lead. A disciple, was I a disciple? Would you
Call a woman by that name? Elizabeth, Elisabeth, Mary Ann,
Mary Ann, Hisako, Winsome, Pheme, Philsy, Rita and today, Martha,
Who do they say that I am? I was part of the community; I was a stranger
I came in off the street; I was a member of the household. I spent my own
Money, earned by my sinful labor or my entrepreneurial prowess, or perhaps
It was my father’s, or my master’s. Daughter of the house, maiden aunt, servant
Girl. Do you know me? Can you imagine the feast for the senses I brought to Him?
My smooth and gleaming alabaster jar full or fragrant, slick, expensive ointment, all for
His honor, all for His pleasure, all for His anointing, all for His Kingship, all for his death -
I came to heal, to anoint, to honor, to prophesy. And those who knew him so well and
Had followed him down the dirt roads and across the lakes could not see what I could
See. Now they call me prescient, faithful, intuitive, prophetic, compassionate, caring
Determined. Then the men around me thought me wasteful, dangerous, out-of-line
And uncharitable. An extravagant woman. Was I gracious? Was I lavish in my
Love for him? The result has been voicelessness, namelessness. My story
Could not be denied, rubbed out, but I have been. Silent and silenced.
Recognized, but unidentified. Priestess? Witch? Wise woman?
Ideal disciple? Was I an upperclass girl or a working girl?
I was initiating, empathetic, loving, bold.
Who do you say that I am?

Martha Kingman Spong
December 6, 2001

7 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

What an amazing poem!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Wow.

Thank you.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Songbird said...

You're welcome! I'm sorry the formatting didn't hold, but on the page it really does look like a jar.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Canticles said...

That's amazing! Thank you for sharing!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I couldn't get it to fit for the life of me! ugghh! Anyway, the poem is amazing. In fact, I will be preaching on the woman with the alabaster jar on 8/7. The poem was such an inspiration for me.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Caroline, will you be posting your sermon on the blog?

6:18 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

hmmm. posting it on the blog? i would love to do that, but it will need to be expanded out of outline form. let me see what i can do. . .

11:51 AM  

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