Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, Mary and Margaret of Bethany


O God, heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Luke 10:38-42

Now as Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."


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Today is the day that the church remembers Mary and Margaret of Bethany, and I can imagine that many of us feel some compassion for Martha. I know that I do. She is working, she is getting the things done that need to be done; doesn't she have the right to complain about Mary, who is just sitting around? But, I wonder where my own busy-ness and activity get me, and I wonder if I am doing the things that I do because I am anxious or worried, rather than having these activities emerge from a sense of rest, of peace, and out of an awareness of God in the midst?

Of course, there is much to and many things to accomplish, but it is easy to get worried and distracted by many things. When we work out of our worry and distracted nature, is the work whole, or soulful? Can we possibly take time to rest, for relaxation, for Sabbath, and then find the time and the space to do the things that need to be done but not have them emerge from worry and distraction? I pray that we each can do the things that need to be done, but also offer prayer and praise to the One that gives us life and all the blessings that it contains.

The Rev. Peter M. Carey

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