Mary and Martha Window
and Martha take us deeper by represent [the] character [of our
parish], that of Christian hospitality. These sisters
deeply believed in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, welcomed
him into their home, listened to his words, served him, and
proclaimed him. As Episcopalians we affirm their example
in our Baptismal Covenant: professing Jesus as God’s only
Son, continuing in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
serving Christ in all persons, and proclaiming the good news of
God in Christ.
As a parish we do the same, offering hospitality to
all—preaching the Gospel, welcoming home, listening, and
Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus and often welcomed him
into their home. Three visits in particular are remembered in
the Gospels. On the first, as Jesus spoke to his disciples,
Mary sat at his feet and listened while Martha served. When
Martha complained about Mary not helping, Jesus answered that
Mary had chosen life’s one necessity—to listen to him.
Based on this story, Martha and Mary have become models of the
active life (of service) and the contemplative life (of prayer),
respectively; neither complete in itself, but each complementing
the other. The second visit came four days after their brother
Lazarus had died. Jesus met Martha on the way to the gravesite
to console her, assuring her that Lazarus would rise again.
Martha believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and that her brother
would rise on the last day. But Jesus explained that he not
only restores life, he is the Life, and to those who
believe in him he gives eternal life. Then Jesus commanded
Lazarus to come out of the tomb, raising him from the dead.
Paradoxically, when word spread to the authorities, it was this
miracle which convinced them that Jesus must die. During his
final visit, on the eve of his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem,
Mary poured costly perfume on his feet and dried them with her
hair. Jesus accepted her devotion as a symbol of his burial,
which would occur before the end of the week.
friendship of this window reflects the hospitality of our
parish. The sisters are shown in their home with Jesus, serving
him and listening attentively. The lamp is the light of the
gospel that shines from our hilltop as we proclaim Christ to the
Like Stars Appearing: The Story of the Stained Glass
Windows of St. George's Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio
copyright 2004 by Anne E. Rowland. All rights
Stained Glass Windows copyright 2000 by St. George's Episcopal
Church, crafted by Willet Stained Glass.