Choosing to be Mary in a Martha World
Ah, the dilemma! A domestic squabble between two sisters? Entertaining or listening? What’s the priority? “Fussy Martha” and “Resting Mary” is the way Anne Osdieck describes the two sisters who welcome Jesus into their home. Martha she says “readied the table, readied the meal, and poured fine wine.” Her idea of welcome was to put out the best in entertainment. Mary on the other hand, sits at the feet of Jesus, letting his voice fill her soul. This weekend, we pray that we too do the “one thing that is necessary.” Paying attention to the person in need is to be preferred over everyday responsibilities. It’s a new priority!
Jesus’ “home visit” does another thing. He is approving a shift, a change in traditional, physical boundaries in Jewish homes that delineated “male space” and “female space.” By sitting at the feet of Jesus, Mary crossed the line. Only a disciple of a teacher would do this and only a man could be a disciple. When Martha notes that Mary is not where she belongs, helping in the kitchen, Jesus makes clear where he stands—and where Mary can sit. Once again, Jesus is signaling a “new creation,” a discipleship of equals. And it isn’t finished yet.
When have our concepts of “where people belong” changed?
What concepts of “where people belong” still need to be changed?
call us to rest at your feet and hear;
to share for a while with you
the one thing that is
Let us feast on it
as we bustle