Summary: Service is being in relationship with Jesus (Luke 10:38-42)
Let us pray: Jesus, be in what I say, and stop me from getting in the way of what you want my sisters and brothers to hear. Help us all to listen to you with our ears, our minds and our hearts, so that your living presence can teach us, renew us and help us to live as children of the Father. Amen.
Let me read today’s gospel again, this time from Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message. We’ve all heard this passage a lot of times, so we bring a lot with us to it when we hear it. Peterson’s directness might help us to hear something new in it:
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course of the meal, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, The Message)
What do you notice? Is God offering anything to you? I’m going to read it again, quite slowly. Listen carefully, noticing whether some part of it stands out to you. This isn’t a test – there isn’t a trick here. Listen to God’s word, and hear what is in it for you. [Read]
Is there a word, or a phrase, or a sentence that leaps out at you? At the risk of straining the friendship, I’ll read it one more time. I’m not doing this just to use up time, by the way. Listen to God’s word, and hear what is in it for you. [Read]
Try to remember what God has offered to you. It may be something that speaks to you in your life now, or it might be something that you need to think about and do, or find out more about, or it might be a challenge, or a rebuke. When I read this passage to prepare for today there was a message for me – a loud and clear one. Only one thing is essential…
Luke’s gospel is concerned with one main question. What does it mean to be a servant of Jesus? As we work through Luke’s gospel this year we can keep that in front of us, and ask it each week, like a lens through which we can examine the passages we share.
Last week, if you remember, the Gospel reading was about service. Serving God through serving our fellow human beings – no matter how inconvenient to us, no matter who they are, no matter what their needs are. Serving them because Jesus is our master, and he is the Servant King. We were challenged us to continually ask, who is our neighbour, and following on from that, how can we serve them? That challenge belongs to us as individuals, but also as a body.
So, Luke moves on from what it means to be a servant of Jesus through serving people, to this new thought. And the thought is this: service is not just doing things. Service is being in relationship with Jesus.