Pastor’s Blog Week of July 21
Text Elements—Source, Harper Collins Study Bible
• Sitting at the Lord’s feet Mary is depicted as a disciple…something unusual for the time.
• One thing here is necessary…listening to Jesus’ teachings.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing.[a] Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
The story of Martha and Mary can resonate with anyone who has struggled with doing all the work at a gathering when everyone else is out in the living room having fun. The story evokes traditional stories of women preparing the meals at Thanksgiving or other holidays, while men watch a game on television. In this case, it is Jesus who is the focus at the gathering. But the text brings up questions about what Martha is doing.
The story has been told with the understanding that Martha is preparing a meal and that Mary is listening to the houseguest and not helping. What do we know about what Martha needs help with? First, a comparison of all four gospels shows that only Luke and John tell the story. John’s gospel is different in that it happens after Jesus has raised Lazarus from death. (Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary. Only John has the raising of Lazarus story.) John also includes Mary anointing the feet of Jesus. But let’s talk about Martha and Mary and what this text in Luke means.
Luke says nothing about Martha in the kitchen or serving folks. John states that Martha served. The lesson in Luke, however, tells us that Martha was “distracted by her many tasks.” We do not know what they were. Mary, nevertheless, decides to listen to Jesus instead of helping her sister. Jesus states that Mary has “chosen the better part.”
What was Martha worried and distracted about? We don’t know…at least from Luke’s account. But she is relatable to the times we live in where we can be so busy, we don’t take time to focus on what is important. Even today, Jesus seeks our attention. Shall we be Martha or Mary? Do we worry held in the grip of distraction? Or, do we choose the better part?
Peace and Grace,