July 21, 2019

Pentecost 6   July 21, 2019 Psalm 15, (Colossians 1:3-6,9-10,15-20)  Luke 10:38-42   Listening to Jesus *************************************************************** Mary has chosen the better part– sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him –  which will not be taken away from her. Not by Jesus, anyway.  But when you and I try to do like Mary – best be prepared for resistance. It’s like a law of human nature – when we try for more time with Jesus – we inevitably encounter obstacles…. When we try to carve out more time with Jesus, sitting and listening for his word – it’s almost funny – how life and busy schedules conspire to make this more difficult than we imagined… When we try to cut back on part of our routine to make more time for Jesus… any activity we try to cut back on pleads – protests – and argues against giving up even fifteen minutes of our customary routines. It’s like second nature for us to believe what we’re doing is more important – than just sitting and listening. Even listening to Jesus. Who, after all, tells us elsewhere – not to be just listeners to the word of God – but be doers of God’s will. And yes – We know we’re saved by grace, not by works – but we also know the scriptures say good works are the fruit of faith – and we sure don’t want to be found fruitless… So we agree with Jesus in principle… But – I’ve been remembering… A pastor friend sharing a story – of a church she served that took in a big portion of it’s annual budget from one large fund-raising event that raised a quarter of the annual budget. Everyone appreciated the funds that came from the event. But producing it took an enormous amount of time and energy over many months of the year – and the health of the church was suffering. So… My friend, the pastor, developed a bible study based on the story of Martha and Mary… And led her bible study in a church meeting – saying “Jesus said – ‘Martha, Martha – distracted by many things, and missing what’s most important! Mary’s chosen the better part – Jesus says…” And the more pastor Marietta (we’ll call her) got into the story-telling, the more visibly anxious the head of the Fund-raising Team (Marcelle, we’ll call her) was becoming. But – pastor Marietta kept pushing the envelope, saying – “Martha, Martha – you’re worried and distracted by many things. Your sister Mary chose the better part…’ Heading for  her intended conclusion – “Get with Mary – do the one thing necessary – take more time to be with Jesus….” But just as the pastor is reaching the conclusion of her bible study – the project leader exclaims – “I’m sorry! But – this time Jesus is just wrong!” *** Most of us are probably too polite to say Jesus is wrong. But it does seem like most people’s lives – mine included – most of the time – look more like Martha – than like Mary, chilling-with-Jesus. And no wonder – I mean, really – isn’t Martha’s also doing what Jesus says to do? Welcoming visitors – practicing hospitality – making sure Jesus and his disciples...

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