Summary: A sermon for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost Mary Martha
7th Sunday after Pentecost
What would you do if when you left church this morning and upon arriving home found out Jesus was waiting at your door? Would you invite him in? Probably you would. Then the man of the house would try to make him feel at home, and most likely the woman of the house would be working fast and feverously in the kitchen making a feast fit for a king. There would be 2 kinds of meat, plenty of potatoes, a couple of salads, corn on the cob, and of course apple pie and ice cream plus plenty of coffee or lemonade. I would imagine the lady of the house wanting every thing to be all right. She probably in fact would be so nervous that she wouldn’t have time to visit or even speak with Jesus.
That might be one scene. Another would maybe be like this. Jesus was at your door, you knew he would be there only a short time, and since this man was the possessor of many truths, since this man had knowledge and truth beyond any that we would hope to have, you would invite him in, explain to him that you would like to hear his teaching and suggest that you send out for pizza or something that wouldn’t take too much time away from what was really important, Jesus’ words, his teaching. Jesus probably wouldn’t be at your house for a spread, a feast to eat, but he probably came for a simple farm picnic, he probably came to get acquainted, to tell you about his love for you, to let your learn more about him.
But how many of us would respond in the second manner? How many of us would send out for pizza or something similar, or fix a quick meal so that we would have plenty of time to spend with Jesus one on one? I would venture to say not many of us! And that is just the point of our gospel lesson this morning. This story of Mary and Martha. Jesus was passing through a village on his way to Jerusalem. He stopped by a good friends house for a rest and probably to say good-bye because he knew he would not be leaving Jerusalem the same way he would entered. Martha having such famous people in her house decided she would treat them in a royal way. She calls to her sister Mary to help, but Mary decides to sit down for a moment and visit with Jesus. Mary becomes so engrossed with Jesus’ words, she forgets all about helping her sister. So her sister has to work even harder. She become more and more upset and goes to Jesus and tells him that Mary has not been nice, and he should ask Mary, no tell Mary, to get up and get to work. But, Jesus sensing that Martha was so engrossed in her own idea of what Jesus wanted, instead Jesus told Martha that Mary was doing right at this moment.
The right thing at thing moment was not a lavish feast, with food fit for a king, the right thing at this moment would-have been-a simple picnic, with everyone helping themselves, and listening to the words of Jesus and saying their final good-byes. Mary understood what the purpose of Jesus visit was all about Martha embossed her own standards of what she thought a visit by Jesus was all about and missed the boat. She was out in the kitchen cooking when she should have been in the living room, eating cheese, and crackers, breaking bread and sharing the conversation with Jesus.
This story follows the parable of the Good Samaritan and together these two events in Jesus’ life gives the Christian an example of how one should live one’s life. Jesus is showing us very clearly the balance that is needed in one lives, ones life of faith. There is a balance between service and worship. A balance between doing and listening. A balance between my faith being active in love and my faith being made stronger by the word of God.
Jesus is pointing out very clearly it is the responsibility for each of us to decide in each situation what shall we do. Last week it would have been not very appropriate for the Samaritan upon seeing that man in the ditch to say first I shall pray about this matter, then, I will act. No, an act,of worship, an act of prayer, an act to strengthening one’s faith was not needed, but Christian service, love and compassion were needed.
In Martha’s case, she decided that service was more important than worship, or listening or prayer. But she decided wrong. She didn’t understand the situation. Jesus didn’t need that much Christian service, what he needed, what he wanted was someone to listen, to pay heed, to share with him in the suffering that was going to come in Jerusalem.