Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sisters of Lazarus: Beauty Unveiled

Sisters of Lazarus: Beauty Unveiled  by Paula K. Parker is more than just a story about the two sisters, Mary and Martha, we know from the Bible. Anyone who has been raised on "Christianese" has heard someone described as a Mary or a Martha and made assumptions on their work ethic based solely on one word. This book goes beyond the few facts we know from Scripture and weaves a spellbinding tale that is sure to change the readers perspective.

Author Paula K. Parker was curious about why the sisters were so different and has told a story that infuses life into these women, their family, and their friends. The elder sister, Martha, is described as a plain woman who believes her only value is in her accomplishments. She is a hard-worker and takes pride in all she does. Mary has no apparent skills, and believes that her beauty is all she has to offer. When their brother, Lazarus, offers hospitality to Jesus and his disciples, the sisters learn that neither works nor outward beauty is the reason they are valuable to God.

 This beautifully told story quickly draws you in and the characters spring to life in a way that makes a familiar story fresh. I have even taken part in Bible studies on these 2 women, but have never considered them through much more than the 'working for God' vs 'listening to God' angle. More than just a photograph of their lives though, Paula creates a rich tapestry that is beautiful and functional. The research put into the time period and the characteristics of the people portrayed is outstanding. The veil truly is lifted to enable the reader to see the beauty of both women as well as the failures and faults. Seeing the transformations in their lives through the encounters they have with Jesus not only caused me to have a richer understanding of what life was possibly like for these two women, but to also think about what I consider of value in me and how God sees me.

Although historical fiction is not always my favorite genre, this story was told within the realm of possibility without attempting to distort facts that are found in Scripture. Fact and fiction were interwoven in a manner that highlight what was happening through characters you care about. Several things made me pause and think, which is a sign of a good book (or film) for me. But the line that hit me the most forcibly was said by one of the people whom Jesus healed . When others were celebrating him and his healing, he said, "I did nothing except look for Jesus". Wow! That is a simple, but profound statement that reminded me that only one thing is truly important...and, for the first time, I gained a better understanding of Jesus' words about Mary. I definitely recommend Sisters of Lazarus: Beauty Unveiled

Disclaimer: I did receive a free download of the book from the publisher, through NetGalley.com in order to write this review. I was only asked for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sisters of Lazarus Q & A

Paula Parker: Christian Entertainment Examiner
Paula K. Parker on Facebook

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