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?