Sunday, July 29, 2018

All Our Attempts to Micromanage the Miracles

Today we celebrate Saint Martha, one of the few named women in the Gospels, one of the few to make multiple appearances.

My favorite glimpse of her is from the story in Luke, where she hustles and bustles with household chores and grows ever more exasperated with her sister Mary, who isn't helping.

It's good to remember what Jesus says to her, when she demands that he make Mary help. Christ says, "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" (Luke 10: 41-42).

I hear those words anew this morning. I, like Martha, am worried and distracted by many things. In my younger years, I thought that my worry might spur me to action. In my later years, I've come to realize that I often worry about items that won't be impacted at all by my fretting.

We also see Martha at the story of Lazarus, her brother, who has been dead in the grave for several days when Jesus comes. She is convinced that her brother would still be alive if Jesus had gotten there in time. And she's worried about the smell when Jesus orders the grave opened.

I recognize this control freak, micromanaging Martha. I see her every day in my own behavior.

I love that Jesus doesn't get angry, doesn't send her away. I love that again and again, she doesn't quite realize the huge truth of Jesus, but he's patient. He doesn't bend himself into pretzel shapes so that she'll be comfortable, but neither does he reject her.

It's interesting to me to see in her behavior and in Peter's that we see that it takes time to grow into our role as disciples. Neither Peter nor Mary understand Jesus right away, but patient Jesus continues to work to shape them.

I, too, am far from where I want to be as a disciple. I take courage from these stories that remind me that there is hope for the lagging disciple.

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