We Christian women know Luke’s account of Jesus stopping in Bethany to visit with Mary and Martha only too well, often seeing ourselves as living a (busy) Martha life.
Have you noticed a simple phrase at the beginning of the story? “…Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.” Martha went against the culture and custom of her time—she owned a home. We often overlook Martha’s boldness to focus on Mary’s boldness in taking a disciple’s role.
So there’s a sting when Jesus seems to prefer Mary’s contemplative approach over Martha’s busyness. Yet Jesus has validated Martha too, by simply being with her in her home.
It’s not an either-or situation. It’s not the active versus the contemplative life. We are all called in the fullness of our lives to move beyond the culture and custom of our time to live a life in service to Jesus.
This message is excerpted from “The Mary-Martha puzzle” by Linda Post Bushkofsky from the July 27, 2010, blog of the Women of the ELCA. Today we commemorate Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany and Olaf, King of Norway, martyr, 1030.
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