TUESDAY THE THIRTY-FIRST OF JULY, 2018
We have not fully learned how to make peace; we have taken advantage of each other continually; we have judged each other without true knowledge; we have set up barriers of pride in possessions; we have divided people by their skin colour; we have even shown religious superiority. Forgive us, merciful God, father of our bodies, minds and spirits; let us commit our whole personalities to you. Amen.
( Rita Snowden, 1907-1999 )
As Jesus sought his wandering sheep, with weary toil oppressed,
he came to Martha’s lowly roof, a loved and honoured guest.
Blessed are you, whose threshold poor those holy feet have trod,
to wait on so divine a guest and to receive your God!
While Martha serves with busy feet in reverential mood,
meek Mary sits beside the judge and feeds on heavenly food.
Yea, Martha soon herself shall sit, the eternal word to hear,
and shall forget the festal hoard, to feast on holier cheer.
Sole rest of all who come to you, over all our works preside,
that we may have in you, at last, the part that shall abide. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Mary, Martha and Lazarus: Jesus’ home away from home ( transferred from Sunday )
Jesus spent his ministry travelling around from place to place preaching, teaching, healing and, in general, showing by word and deed the kingdom of God. The gospels mention three different episodes when Jesus was a guest in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The gospels tell us that Jesus loved the three of them. They were both friends and followers of Jesus.
In one famous story, Martha is busy preparing food in the kitchen, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him. Many have seen in this simple account the two sides of discipleship: studying the word, and deeds of charity and care. Martha makes a bold confession of faith in Jesus when he visits the home after Lazarus had died. Again, when Jesus is the guest at a dinner in his honour, following the raising of Lazarus, Mary took a pound of expensive nard and anointed Jesus’ feet. All in all, they provided Jesus with a place of acceptance and love in the midst of his ministry.
What a rich life Jesus lived, to have such good friends. Do your friends help you to live life well?
All who claim to be followers of Jesus, learn from Martha, Mary, and Lazarus of Bethany, to make Jesus welcome in their hearts and homes.
Scripture. In the story of Zacchaeus, in “Luke,” chapter nineteen, verses five to seven, we find a very similar situation to the family at Bethany, where Jesus says:
“Hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”
So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.
All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
May Jesus always find a welcome in your home.
… for peace in the world.
… that we may always be attentive to the words of Jesus Christ and always willing to act in accordance with his teaching.
… that we may be a welcoming people.
… for those whose homes have been damaged by severe weather.
… for those who have been abused by aid workers. DETAILS
… for the four tourists who were killed by Islamists in Tajikistan on Sunday and the two who were injured; for all travellers in dangerous lands. DETAILS
… for victims of evil cultural practices, especially those involving the abuse of women; for those victims who have to hide from their family out of fear of being violently attacked for not conforming to tradition. DETAILS
… for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From “Removing the Wall between Mary and Martha” by Mother Raphaela Wilkinson:
Again and again during the year we hear the story of the sisters Mary and Martha being visited by Jesus. While Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching, Martha was busy in the kitchen.
Finally 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.”
Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
I’ve always had a hunch that, before the Lord arrived, Mary was right there with Martha getting all the food ready and cleaning the house. Martha’s problem was that she didn’t know how to enjoy her parties. My guess is that Mary was a good hostess, the kind who prepares everything ahead of time so that, when the guests arrive, she can sit down and enjoy them. But Martha was sure her guests needed to be waited on hand and foot. The Lord rightly corrected her.
Martha’s error is one many of us fall into, especially if we are task oriented. In our effort to be perfect, we end up doing things that don’t need to be done. While we may gain the satisfaction of seeing many tasks or projects completed, we may lose companionship along the way.
Because of Saint Luke’s story, Mary has come to stand for the contemplative life, while Martha stands for the active life. But when we talk this way, we are taking one small episode in the lives of these sisters out of context, assuming that Martha spent her entire life busy serving while Mary was always listening.
Church tradition tells us that both women went on to be myrrhbearers. Later, according to ancient local traditions in France and England, they became apostles and evangelists.
We see Martha in a different light in Saint John’s gospel.
Here she makes the same confession of faith as Peter: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
The Lord had taught her a lesson and she learned it.
We should emulate both women, combining in ourselves both their good qualities. In an early story of desert monasticism, we are told of visitors who came to the monastery but were scandalised when they were asked to help with work. They complained that they had come to pray. So, the story goes, they were given use of a room in which to pray, but were not called when it was time to eat.
It doesn’t take long for humans to discover that they are not quite up to a totally non-material angelic life. Saint Paul tells us that those who choose not to work should not eat. On an empty stomach, work begins to look good.
For the healthy and able, there is no such thing as a contemplative life stripped of all activity. Balancing the two is the key to life.
Generous God, whose son Jesus Christ enjoyed the friendship and hospitality of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany: open our hearts to love you, our ears to hear you, and our hands to welcome and serve you in others, through Jesus Christ our risen Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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