Mary. Martha.

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. 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!”

“Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

This was yesterday’s gospel reading. Usually this precedes a homily where we are admonished to spend more time sitting at the feet of Jesus and less time being busy and worried with preparations and stuff.

But we’re always too hard on Martha, I think. Somebody has to prepare the food and provide the hospitality. Not everyone can just sit still. It is just as holy to give one’s self in service as it is to sit in the presence of God. I think Marthas’ problems started when she started getting resentful and feeling sorry for herself. Instead of service, her labors became an obligation she resented. When the ego steps in and takes charge, things go down hill fast.

It was the growing resentment, I think, that Jesus was talking about. She had lost the “one thing” that was needed. I can identify with Martha. I can understand feeling like I’m cooped up in the kitchen while others get to sit at the feet of Jesus. The difference between Martha and Mary was a state of heart.

So during the homily yesterday, whilst I was being admonished to spend more time being like Mary and less like Martha, I was composing a list of ways to sit like Mary and work like Martha at the same time. To rest without sitting. Pray without kneeling.

Wash the sippy cups.
Read “green eggs and ham” aloud for the fifteen thousandth time.
Shadow box with your four year old son.
Feed mashed carrots and sweet peas to the baby.
Hold somebody.
Take your two year old to the potty.
Change a diaper.
Sing “itsy bitsy spider.”
Talk your child through the process of putting on socks. (instead of doing it for him)
Pet the dog.
Make formula.
Fold laundry.
Pick up toys.
Mow the lawn.
Take the kids to the pool.

Moments of holiness abound in my mundane life. I just need to wake up and see them as such. Sometimes I do.

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