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Summary: A sermon for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost Mary and Martha

8th Sunday after Pentecost

July 22

Proper 11 C

Lectionary 16

Luke 10:38-42


Luke 10:

38* Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.

39* And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

40* But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

41* But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;

42* one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

I would like you to imagine that you can hear the conversation which is going on in the heads of the two sisters in our gospel lesson this morning. The sisters are Martha and Mary.

First Martha:

I just glanced out into the other room and what did I see, I saw Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him. Here I am stuck in the hot kitchen making the meal, why can she come and help me.

Hey, maybe if I ask Jesus to send her out here she would have to come.

So Martha goes into the other room and says to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

I told him now what? The Lord is answering me he says: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.

She goes back into the kitchen and sits down and thinks: What does he mean one thing is needful? He is talking about faith? I have faith. Wasn’t I the one that ran up to Jesus when Lazarus died and said, "If you had been here my brother would not of died?" That statement told Jesus that I believed in Him, I trusted him to do the right thing. I have faith!

What is this right thing? What is this right thing right now? Isn’t it fixing the food for all the guests. Maybe I did go over board some in my such a big meal. But I like to cook. That is my gift, cooking.

I just wanted Mary to come out here and help a little. But maybe, just maybe Mary had the right thing. Maybe cooking is not the right thing now. We don’t know how much longer we will have Jesus with us. Maybe I should stop this cooking and go out and listen to Jesus.

Now Mary:

Why does Martha keep poking her head out of the door trying to get my attention. Doesn’t she know that I need to be here listening to the Master. I don’t have that strong faith as she does. I need to be here listening, wondering about this man Jesus.

Now what is she doing. She just asked Jesus to tell me to go into the kitchen and help. The nerve of that woman! But what is Jesus saying to her? He says that Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”

He didn’t tell me to go out into the kitchen, but I can stay here at his feet and continue to listen. Jesus is not like those scribes and Pharisee who think that a woman cannot learn or understand these religious thing. Jesus lets us women learn right along side of the men. As I think about Jesus’ ministry, he has broken down a lot of barriers. He allows sinners to eat with him. He teaches women. He isn’t as concern about the law as the scribes and Pharisees are. As a matter of face he only told us two laws that are important, loving God and loving our neighbor.

Hey look. Martha is coming out of the kitchen to listen for awhile, good for her.

Now to the present moment. Both sisters thought they were doing the right thing. Martha thought that service was important now and Mary thought worship or listening to Jesus was important.

And I think both sisters were correct. Service is important as well as worship, learning about Jesus.

Let us look at service first.

Service means to help another. Caring another person’s burden.

I read this poem in an e-mail listen:

A poem entitled "Sermons We See," part of which goes like this:

I’d rather see a sermon

than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me

than merely tell the way.

And the best of all the preachers

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