Jesus boldly told a harried Martha, “Mary has chosen the better “dish” and it will not be removed from her.” It makes one stop and think – or at least it should. Last Sunday we were told to go and love and serve our neighbour. This Sunday we are told to sit down and listen. So which should we do? Should we be like Martha and get busy doing likewise or should we sit down beside Mary and listen for a while. In fact would submit that we need to do some of both. We need to stop and to listen to the voice of the Master and then we need to apply ourselves to serving God and our neighbour and the working out of our faith.
We need to consider first that Mary was sitting at the feet of the master and being taught by him and he did not reject her. Women were not in this kind of position is culture. That is to say they were not considered to be disciples because they were not men. So Mary finds herself in an unusual place. Martha is exasperated by the lack of help that she is getting from her sister who is an unusual place. She complains openly to Jesus about this. Jesus points out to Martha that she is worried about a great many things when she only needs to concern herself with one thing. Jesus wants her to come and join her sister at his feet so that she can hear him clearly for her own self – there will be time for serving and hospitality later but now he needs his word to be heard. Mary has chosen the dish that needs to be eaten now and it will not be taken from her.
So how does this apply to us? When did you last stop to listen to the voice? When were you last still to know that God is God? How come you have been too busy to enter into the presence of God fully in the last while? Oh, yes we take holidays or vacations and we get away from it all for a time and fill our time with other things. After all isn’t said that, “a change as good as a rest?” How does one have conversation with someone who will not sit still? It is important to take time to be with God because in those moments we can hear him speak to us and to comfort and renew us for the tasks that are ahead. We need to hear his word and the voice of the Spirit speaking to us. Otherwise how do we know what to do and where to go as individuals and as a church? Failing to listen to the voice that calls us forward makes us as individuals, and as community, absurd. We not only end up doing things our way, our community degrades and suffers. If one is going to push the edges of the envelope then it is necessary to stop and to listen to what it is that God is saying to us. And in doing so we will find that we are not alone: that God will draw others to us and to the places and spaces where he wants and needs his church so that the kingdom can be signed by our actions and proclaimed by our obedience to the voice of the Master.
Come, sit and eat – the dish is hot and the Master is calling you to come to sit and to be with him for awhile. Come and dine!