We have succumbed to the lure of lazy Sunday mornings spent on the back porch with an extra-large mug of coffee and a good book, and have not been to church all summer. Not until yesterday, when we were sort of forced to show up because my husband was scheduled to be lay reader in the service. It's good that we went ~we had a chance to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in a while. Good to be reminded that folks in the congregation are like a second family to us, and have missed seeing us there. I have to imagine that Jim was inwardly chuckling as he read the morning's scripture lesson. It was the famous story of Martha and her sister Mary, and the different ways they reacted to an unexpected visitor (that would be Jesus). Martha goes nuts trying to be the perfect hostess, while Mary plops down on the floor at Jesus' feet and just savours being in his presence. Martha, frustrated at what she perceives to be Mary's abdication of responsibility, turns to Jesus for support. "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work myself? Tell her to help me!"
Of course, the Lord is no help. "Martha," He says, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Just last week, when it appeared we were to have some unexpected visitors, I went into full Martha mode - hustling around, cleaning, shopping, fretting over the weeds in the garden and the dust on the draperies. I do that a lot - get into a frenzy about all the "things" that need to be done.
Yesterday as our minister talked about allowing ourselves time to communicate with God, to enjoy life, to reflect on the many blessings we've been given, I was reminded that the "better part" of living is not cleaning or organizing or paying bills. Those things are necessary, of course, but so is a calm and peaceful spirit.
So I'm trying to curb my Martha tendencies and be more Mary-like.
With that thought, I'm setting my usual Monday chores aside and heading off on a family walk.