Added: Letesha Cai - Date: 28.08.2021 05:45 - Views: 49608 - Clicks: 2149
Jump to . No Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now. Whenever I hear this story of Martha and Mary hosting Jesus in their home, I always have this gut reaction of wanting to defend Martha. Jesus points out that Mary has chosen the better part, and Martha is left pulling the roast out of the oven wondering where she went wrong. So I feel like Martha deserves some props that. Part of my motivation here no doubt comes out of my own experience.
Growing up I always wondered how it was that most of us got to read in the living room while Mom was getting Sunday dinner around. If it would have been left to me, we all probably would have sat around reading until we were unbearably hungry and then eventually scrounged for some peanut butter and jelly. One way of reading this story is seeing Martha and Mary as archetypes of the two faces of Christian discipleship: action and contemplation.
These could also be called doing and being, service and prayer, the outward and inward journey. These are the two sisters of a healthy spiritual life. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, and is dependent on people like Martha to give him and his companions shelter and food. A little earlier Jesus had cast evil spirits out of a crazed man who had lived at the edge of society. In Acts Paul notes that he was educated at the feet of Gamaliel, a respected Jewish teacher.
Acts For Mary to be sitting at the feet of Jesus, means that she is becoming a disciple. But Martha is also engaged in discipleship. Martha is doing much service. Both Martha and Mary are engaged in acts of discipleship.
Just the name of that Center is something to contemplate. Action and Contemplation have not always known what to do with each other. People of action — doers, practical minded people, activists, get things done. Or, at least in the case of activists, we try to get things done — giving time, talents, skills, energy for the making of a better world. The spirituality of action calls us to pray with our feet, pray with our hands in the dirt.
Anabaptists are at home in this spirituality as we emphasize faith as a way of life, the true expression of belief being not what doctrines you subscribe to, but how you treat your neighbor. We are kindred spirits with Martha, drawn to the many tasks of hospitality, peacemaking, service. Contemplative folks come at things from another angle. The focus is more on the inward journey. Study, thinking, reflection, silence, stillness. Like Mary.
This potential tension between action and contemplation — should we be people of action, or people of contemplation? Ronald Rolheiser, not to be confused with Richard Rohr, but also a Catholic priest, has suggested that perhaps Martha and Mary can represent different stages of life. Those who find themselves in the middle portion of life — giving themselves to a career, raising a family, creating a home, are more heavily identified with Martha. Empty nesters, retired persons, might have more ability and freedom to identify with Mary. Because from what I hear once you retire your schedule completely opens up and you have all the time in the world!
I think what Rolheiser means is that there is more discretionary time to pursue contemplation. It took me several read-throughs to recognize the ificance of where the Martha and Mary passage appears in Luke. Right before it comes the parable of the Good Samaritan, the ultimate story of discipleship as service, even when that service is performed by the least likely of disciples — a Samaritan. Right after the Martha and Mary story Jesus receives a different kind of question.
So there we have it. The sisters of service and contemplation are sandwiched right in between passages which emphasize the importance of both. Martha and Mary. This is all important, and we could end here, having made a point that both sisters are integral to a faithful life. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.
So is this another case similar to those sibling relationships in Genesis where God seems to be choosing one over the other? Right off the bat in the Bible we are put on notice that sibling relationships can be ones of rivalry. Cain and Abel offer different sacrifices to God. A shaky and painful start to the human family. Later Ishmael and Isaac, half brothers, sons of Abraham through Hagar and Sarah, are cause for more conflict. God gives mixed als in this case, declaring that Ishmael will become a great nation, while also declaring Isaac, the child through Sarah, to be the inheritor of the promise.
The tension is too much and the brothers and their mothers part ways. With Jews and Christians telling the story from the perspective of Isaac, and Muslims tracing their lineage back through Ishmael, these siblings are still very much alive today, and we hold out hope that there are, and always have been, peaceful ways to live alongside one another.
Isaac marries Rebekah who becomes pregnant with twins. Mary, on the other hand, claims her right to sit at the feet of a sage, despite the social constraints. Martha is worried about hosting, but Jesus would invite her to a feast he has brought, which Mary is already enjoying, drinking in the words with thirst.
Not two things. There is need of only one thing. He just says that there is need of only one thing, and kind of leaves it hanging. Mary was on her way to finding it while Martha was distracted from it, but one gets the sense that the one thing can be present whether one is sitting at the feet of the sage or engaged in service in the kitchen, on the road to Jericho, or wherever one finds oneself. When each was held up, we were all supposed to say the words with lots of volume.
A little bit into the week it became a running joke for the kids to pronounce the dot, dot, dot, at the end of Breathe In. Some witty kids here at CMC. What comes next?My sister Columbus wants to party
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My sister Columbus wants to party