Which part of the story of Martha and Mary has been the most popular with artists?
Would this have been your choice?
Artists paint what they want to paint, but they also paint with their audience in mind. Look at the paintings again. Who is the painting directed at? At you, or someone quite different? Explain your reasoning.
If you have chosen something different, ask yourself why this other incident appeals to you more than the scene favored by the artists. Spend some time quietly thinking about your response. What does it say about you?
A letter from the past
Choose one of the three characters in the Bethany household: Martha, Mary or Lazarus.
Bethlehem girls in traditional dress, early 19th century photograph
Write a letter to that person, asking for more details about what happened in one of the events in which Jesus played a part.
You might ask about the house they lived in, what they were doing, what their emotions or reactions were, what the other people in the story were like, etc. Or something quite different. It’s up to you.
Compose the letter that Martha, Mary or Lazarus might have written in response to your questions. Give as much information as you can.
Base your response on
information you’ve gathered about the life and people of the times
a personal reconstruction of emotions, reactions, ideas, etc. that people might have felt.
Find the probable locations of events in the last days of Jesus’ life.
This 19th century photograph shows the city of Jerusalem with the Kidron Valley in the lower right. The house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus was to the right of the photographed area, up the hill from the Kidron Valley
Jerusalem at the time of Jesus
The dinner at Bethany
Find out about meals in ancient Israel
the meat, vegetables and desserts that were available ( a famous cook called Apicius wrote a cookbook at about the time these events occurred, using ordinary ingredients as well as expensive ones; use a search engine to locate this book and consult his recipes)