It’s summertime.  A time when people go on holiday.  A time when people stop working for a week or two to rest and relax.

The compilers of the lectionary have decided in their wisdom that Luke 10:38-42 should be our Gospel focus for this week, the story of Martha and Mary.

The two sisters of Lazarus live in Bethany and often welcome Jesus into their home.  On this occasion we read:

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!

41 Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things,

42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

I wonder what that tells us about our lives?

I know people who will rightly argue that Martha was doing the right thing.  If she hadn’t made a fuss then perhaps the complaints that day would have been that there was no food to eat!  Hospitality is hugely important and it takes work.

But I wonder how often we forget the purpose of hospitality, to welcome people and make them feel welcomed?

I know that sometimes when we have guests whoever cooks can spend more time in the kitchen that with our friends.  Perhaps that’s why open plan living is so popular.  But being stuck in the kitchen can feel like missing out.  Especially when there is good conversation on the go.

The reason we are stuck in the kitchen is that we are trying to make an impression.  We don’t choose something quick and easy to cook for our guests.  We try to impress them with our speciality dish.

I wonder if they would be happier with takeaway and our company instead?  I wrote recently about our culture of availability and how it gives the impression that relationships are important to us when our availability often gets in the way of good relationships.

Mary chooses time with Jesus and Jesus seems to support that choice.

Perhaps Martha should have ordered pizza and taken a seat?

2 thoughts on “busyness”

  1. Hi Stewart some thought provoking posts here. Mary and Martha reading is very timely. There is a superb painting in the National Gallery of Scotland. I am glad that sometimes when folk come they can sit in the kitchen with me when I cook. Not sure about the making an impression – I like to cook for a bit of fun but when it is weekday – what shall we have for tea – it does not work somehow. So friends coming in gives me the chance to experiment and play about a bit too. We have had takeaways with friends too and have had fun and good craich!

    Hope all well with you

  2. An interesting couple of articles, Stewart.
    Being available is something I always try to be, but over the years have become a bit more protective of time for recharging, and thanks to your words, even more protective of that time with family. It is precious time that can easily be lost. I can remember being told of a minister who had a son rush into his study with huge excitement desperate to tell him of some news, but the minister gently hushed him out of the study and then regretted the action. As the minister said, ‘the moment was gone’.
    Being available has to work for family too.

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