Message Based on Luke 10:38-42; Preached 18-July-2010 by Pastor Asher

Reading from Luke 10:38-42 can be found at this link

clip_image002

At a first glance, today’s Gospel reading is about Mary and Martha, and about Martha fussing over the dishes and Mary being all-spiritual and Martha being all-practical. But it is only at first glance… I learned a long time ago that the true lessons of the Holy Scriptures are usually much simpler, much more interesting and much more elegant than first meets the eye. Allow me to explain.

clip_image004

Have you ever taken some "YOU" time to drive down the road on a beautiful summer evening with the windows open? A few of your favorite songs streamed from your iPod through the car speakers, warm summer air gently caressed the skin of your face, and as you drove you saw the beauty and majesty of a sunset over the Susquehanna. And the beauty of the scenery matched the beauty of the music that surrounded you and a song just poured out of you. You did not care that you sang out of tune, you did not care who might hear you, you did not care that {"} "mature responsible adults don’t do things like that." You just enjoyed the moment and felt alive…

clip_image006

Today’s Gospel reading is about being caught in the moment and recognizing the presence of God in our lives.

 

Today’s Gospel reading is about recognizing the presence of the Holy, being awed by it, and being caught in it. It is about moments when we forget our insecurities and embarrassments; somehow we overcome our limitations and shortcomings; we forget all the stuff that usually makes us schwitz and worry and we just ARE IN THE MOMENT. I am talking about moments when we just sing or dance, or do whatever it is we do when we realize that we are in the presence of God…

clip_image008

As Luke tells us the story of Jesus, we learn that Jesus “set his face towards Jerusalem” (Like 9:51-62) to fulfill his ultimate mission of paying ransom for our eternal salvation.

clip_image010

Then we learn in Luke 10:1-24 that Jesus paired up some of his followers and sent them on a mission trip.

clip_image012

Last week we met the earnest expert of the law who asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-29) and in response Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

clip_image014

The parable of the Good Samaritan makes the point that God loves us so much that God will not let us pass by a sister or a brother in need without pulling on the strings of our hearts to encourage us, and to hold us to a higher standard than the standard to which we hold ourselves. The parable of the Good Samaritan makes the point that God calls us to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be.    {Here is the link to last week’s sermon}

clip_image016

The narrative continues with the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) that we heard today. Although this story is called the story of Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha, this story is about Jesus and his love for us. The story of Mary and Martha is about how much Jesus wants to be in a relationship with us and how he – Jesus – lifts us above the hustle and bustle of everyday problems, annoyances and limitations of this life so that we might catch a glimpse of the sacred in the profane, the divine in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the holy with which each and every moment of this life is filled and imbued.

clip_image018

In a way, today’s parable provides another answer to the question, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It is about allowing Jesus to break the preoccupations of our lives so that we are free for the vocations of our lives, so that we have a chance to breathe in the Spirit of God that renews and powers our lives.

So what’s in it for us? What can we take out of the story that Mary and Martha taught us today?

clip_image020

"Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42 NIV).

clip_image022

When Jesus talks about "what is better," Jesus is inviting us to get caught in the joy of being in God’s presence. {Illustration – “Joy of the LORD is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10; no joy, no strength}

clip_image024

When Jesus talks about "what is better," Jesus is inviting us to forget for a short time the things that hold us back, and to dream of possibilities. When Jesus talks about "what is better," Jesus is inviting us to set aside all the usual worries, headaches, and concerns that we learn to embody and internalize on our life’s journeys, and to break out in song, even if we sing out of tune.

clip_image026

The Story of Mary and Martha is about attitude. Does our community have open hearts, open minds and open doors to welcome new possibilities, are we willing to say “yes” rather than “no” to something that we have never done before?  Mary was expected to work in the kitchen, instead she made a choice to do something that was not expected of her and she was blessed by it.

clip_image028

The Story of Mary and Martha is about possibilities and growth in unexpected and challenging situations. All of us know that “stuff happens,” that there are limitations; but we also know that there are possibilities. Martha got stuck preparing the meal; Mary got yelled at by her sister. Through it all the grace of Jesus was with both of them.

clip_image030

The Story of Mary and Martha is about learning to see the world as if for the first time, just like Mary did that day. The truth is that we see every moment of life for the first time, since each passing moment is unique and new until it becomes a memory. Recognizing that newness breaks up the boundaries that we set around ourselves, and opens us to new possibilities, new and unexpected ways to experience the joy of the Lord.

The presence of God is the reality of our lives. Holy Spirit tugs on the strings of our hearts every day and Jesus visits every one of us every day. The story of Mary and Martha is about what we do with that reality.

If we allow it, the reality of God’s presence lifts us beyond everyday limitations of this life and helps us to glimpse the sacred in the profane, the divine in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the holy with which each and every moment of our lives is filled. It challenges us to step out of your comfort zones, and to try something new. When we do that we find ourselves at the feet of Jesus, showered with new blessings and new experiences that bring unexpected joy.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: