Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wednesday - Mary and Martha and the Bread of Life

Prayer:  Lord God Almighty, You nourish our bodies through the Word.   You fill our hearts with joy.   Help us to continually praise You in all we do today.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  St.  Luke  10: 38 – 42

Ah yes,  the story of Mary and Martha.   This is the  story that all Ladies Aid groups who serve at Funerals and Baptisms and Weddings and other Church events always snort and groan.   Cooking in the kitchen.
In years past we heard sermons telling us that Mary made the wise choice in sitting by Jesus and listening to his teachings and Martha made the poor choice by working in the kitchen and missing out on hearing about the Kingdom of God.   
This explanation sounds wonderful until our stomachs growl with hunger.  Then suddenly we realize that someone does have to be in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals for others.
So what is really going on in this story?   Was Martha working away in the kitchen not only doing her duties but also having to do Mary’s duties in the kitchen because Mary was sitting listening to Jesus.  Martha was getting tired and frustrated at having to cook for Jesus and the disciples and who knows how other many people without Mary’s help.  
Martha’s  frustration erupts when she says to Jesus, “Don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me?  Tell her to lend me a hand”. 

Read again who Martha tells about her frustration.  It is Jesus.  Not Mary but Jesus.   So could we jump to a conclusion that Mary had already completed her duties in the kitchen and was listening to Jesus.     So could we also jump to a conclusion that Martha was going overboard with hosting the meal.  The King James Version states it as “But Martha was cumbered about much serving” (vs 40).  Aha!   Instead of just preparing a simple meal and then also sitting down to learn from Jesus,  Martha was getting too bound up in only the food. 

This is actually a great parable for us to hear.   Prepare a simple meal so that one still has energy  to listen to the words of Jesus.   Do not prepare a meal that becomes an 18 course fancy meal and end up being totally focussed on the meal and then too tired to hear the Word of God.   We need a balance in our Christian life.    We need the Bread of Life as much as food for our body.

So the next time you have to prepare or serve food at a Funeral or Baptism or Wedding  or Lenten Worship - Lunch or other Church events,  remember to say a prayer for the event.  Remember to ask Jesus to use your gifts of food to nourish not only the people’s physical bodies but also nourish their spiritual body as well.

Prayer:   Comfort Your people O Lord.   May the work of our hands and the thoughts of our mind be  to Your glory and praise.  What ever we are to do today,  may we do in Your peace and strength and healing and love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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