Regrettably, . . . this little scene in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, has been . . . employed to set up a split between a life dedicated to prayer and meditation and one dedicated to practical service. Moreover, . . . prayer and meditation (sitting at the feet of Jesus . . .) has been exalted to a superior place. . . . Historically the life of monks, nuns and priests was regarded as being more godly than that of parents, merchants, labourers, teachers, tradesmen, clerks, cooks, scholars and street sweepers. The Marthas have been seen as inferior to the Marys. . . . Today we extol and admire the busy people, the achievers, the movers and shakers. We are a generation of doers. Prayer is not high on the ambitions list. Meditation is regarded as something for those who can’t make it in the real world. Quietly reading and pondering the Scriptures is for those who have caught a religious bug. . . . Either way I am not happy. I do not believe that this passage justifies one way of life as above the other. I do not accept that they should ever be split apart. We need both Mary and Martha. And they need to change roles often.
From the United Church in Australia.
As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
From sermon4kids.com: “Many of us . . . get so busy working, going to school, playing, or watching television that we often forget the most important thing. We forget to spend time with Jesus! . . . [He is] the most important thing!”
Collect: Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Reflection: What value do you put on hospitality? What does “reconcile/reconciliation” mean? How have you experienced it? When you try to focus your life and thoughts on spiritual matters, what is the chief distraction you experience?
Sunday School—out for the summer
“Self guided retreat” by Susan Guthrie;
There is a force within that gives you life-
In your body there lies a priceless jewel –
Oh, wandering Sufi. If you are in search of the greatest treasure,
don’t look outside, Look within, and seek That.
-Rumi 1207-1273 [Trans. Jonathan Star]
Commentary from “break open the word” Blogspot
Movies/Videos: “Spirited Away” (2001), the young protagonist must find within herself which path leads to her freedom; “Adaptation” (2002), a Spike Jonz file about passions; “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (2012), a 6-year-old shows us the way
Image “Abraham and the three visitors” by Marc Chagall [from old testament for the day].
In today’s story of Martha and Mary, try putting yourself in Mary’s shoes, consider what she was thinking, and why she chose to listen to Jesus. Now do the same for Martha, why were the chores more important. Now think about ways in which we can honor both.