Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, Jesus 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."
Reflection The story of Martha and Mary is so familiar that when I began to reflect on it I heard echoes of hundreds of sermons bouncing off the walls of my mind. I could imagine the cover of a book on my office bookshelf, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. But it was my Sabbath day and I was not at my office. I wracked my brain to remember the author which led me down a few twisted dead ends before I googled trusty Amazon and ‘remembered,’ the author is Joanna Weaver. All of this led me far from my engagement with the story. Feeling a bit anxious I wondered, “However will I sort through all of this to discover how the Spirit is speaking through the text to me today? How will I get this reflection written and everything else I have planned to do on my Sabbath day today done?”
And there it was. I was thinking, feeling and acting like my sister Martha who was distracted by all the things she had done and the things she thought she knew or had to do. Even though it is the day the Lord visits Martha and her sister, both Martha and I are still trying to take charge and run our agendas. Oops! I decided to sit, meditate and wait for the storm to pass and the dust to settle. I set my “Insight Timer,” relaxed my body and followed my breath. A train of disconnected thoughts burbled to the surface of my consciousness. The good news is, I cannot recall any of them now.
Three Kangsé chimes called me to conclude my time of waiting and listening. Having ‘heard’ nothing to write about Martha and Mary I recalled what Jesus said to the disciples while instructing them about prayer a bit later in Luke’s text. “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Luke 11.9) I decided to persist in my prayer. This time I didn’t set the timer. I just joined Mary at Jesus’ feet and offered this prayer. “OK, here I am Lord. If there is anything for me to write and share with your people, please let me know. I’ll just wait here.”
I have no idea how much time passed before Zachariah the cat decided to check on my status. I do know that I felt incredibly good resting in God’s presence. As I realized that my time of waiting was over (Zachariah relentlessly insisted that I get up and open the door to let him go outside) I cast around my mind for words to write and realized all I had to tell was my story. So there it is. The story of a distracted woman, persistent prayer and an insistant cat.