Jesus visits Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38–42)

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 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.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Which is the better part?
For years interpretation has sought
to divide Martha and Mary
determining that only one of them
can be commended by our Lord
that only one way
is important in the kingdom.
Yet truth be told
we know all too well
that we need those who welcome others
doing all the things necessary
to provide hospitality
as well as those
who will take time to listen,
affording intimacy.
And in both women
we see the norms of the day
confounded yet again
turned on their head
by women refusing to conform.
Martha, welcoming Jesus boldly
as a head of a household might.
And Mary, sitting at the Rabbi’s feet
as a disciple might.
Both, in their own way contributing
to the table fellowship they shared.
And, we can imagine Jesus
taking the fruits of Martha’s labour:
bread still warm from the oven
its aroma filling the room
and sweet, heady wine,
kept for just such an occasion
and, wrapped in the adoring gaze of Mary,
transforming those gifts
in the knowledge
that the portent of death
was not missed in this home
For here were two women
who simply got it
and, together, made room for the One
in whom everything made sense
Two women who demonstrated that love
does not consist in either/or
but in both/and.
Martha and Mary
who recognised
that the kingdom was near.

Thanks to our good friend Liz Crumlish for allowing us to re-post her blog.

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