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[Written for the Journal]

MARY OF BETHANY

From the January 1917 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Upon a vine clad terrace, in one deep niche
That fallen stones had made within the wall,
Sat Mary; her head, heavy with hours of leaden thought,
Drooped wearily upon her hand; her dreamy eyes
Misty with unshed tears gazed out beyond
The blue horizon of the distant hills
In dull despair. The Master had not come!
Four days, four nights, and yet he had not come!
Oh, she had watched it seemed a thousand years
That pathway from Judæa! Her straining sight
Reeled inward, dazed and dizzy as she gazed,
And her acute ears caught, between the sounds
Of wailing and of mourning in the house,
The falling of a pebble with sharp pain.
No sound could voice the wailing in her heart,
Though Lebanon itself should echo it; no tongue
Cried to her Master as her spirit cried
In speechless pleading hour after hour.
Lazarus, their joy, their sun, their all, was dead!
The Master would not come. Would she might die!

Yes, she had failed; she knew that she had failed,—
Had failed to heal, had failed to prove the truth.
She could not hold to Love's protecting arm
To stem that cataract of evil thought
Which swept into the house in one foul flood,
Drowning her brother in appalling depths.
It had seemed presence, power, force, and fate,
And yet she knew so well Love conquered hate,
And God the Father was the Life of man.
When Jesus spoke she knew that God was All!
She understood the things of heaven best,—
Better than Martha, better than Lazarus even,—
And yet she too had failed, oh, bitter thought!
Now she would never heal the sick again.

If Jesus had been there, he would have healed!
He knew his God; she stumbled in the dark,
And could not touch the fringe of Life divine.
But he, he knew! How dark and strange it seemed;
Jesus loved Lazarus, yet he would not come.
Their friends had murmured this into her ears,
Had hissed that all the Master's power was spent,—
He healed no longer; and she in one full flush
Of righteous wrath had caught the poisoned lie
Hot from their lips and torn it into shreds
With living words that cut them like a sword!
But now in secret and in solitude,
Her heart, aye mourning with its ceaseless pain,
Asked why he would not come, and beat again
Sickened with fear, nor dared to answer why.

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