July 25, 2021
*Call to Worship
Leader: God of Mary and Martha, open our eyes to our roles and responsibilities.
People: Help us to gaze outside the boundaries of the familiar.
Leader: Let us join our hearts together in thanks and praise.
People: We join and lean into divine connection.
Leader: Come and open our hearts and minds to divine opportunities.
People: We come with open hearts and minds.
God of miracles and transformations, come to us now as we seek to move through distractions. Speak your divine love
into our hearts. Help us to feel the revelations in your world, and move us to strengthen our bonds with neighbors,
community, and families. We pray all of this in the name of the resurrected Savior. Amen.
*Hymn UMH # 526 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Scripture Luke 10:38-42
God, the more we know you, the more it is that joy dances in our souls. So, as we open the pages of our family history, show yourself in its Words. Whisper your love in our ears. Draw us into the embrace of your arms. Let our hearts beat a little faster as we hear the sound of your voice so near. AMEN
Written by Robert D. Ingram
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
This is the word of God for the people of God
Thanks be to God
Focus statement – Jesus invites us to appreciate the better parts of life when they are offered.
We are often pulled in so many directions. We are busy in our communities, with friends and sometimes when it comes to our families, we are too distracted to spend quality time together. Share a story about missing a chance to enjoy time with family.
Check out this YouTube video –
Watching this a few days ago I realized that this is how I feel sometimes, maybe more than sometimes. I doubt I could keep even one hula hoop going for more than once around, but I saw this and realized that it represents all the things I seem to have going at the same time.
Suppose I have a hula hoop going round and round off each arm – these represent my husband and my kids, and two around my neck – well I have two churches, and another on my right foot – so this must be my friends and oh I can’t forget the one around my waist this is taking care of me.. I can’t even get each of those body parts to move at the same time but let’s just pretend.
My imaginary six hula hoops each represent a portion of my life that is especially important to me. These portion of my life are special and I want to keep them all in sync. They have one thing in common – they each need my body to move. Without the center, my body, being in good shape (and it’s not) and moving appropriately (it doesn’t) those hula hoops are not going anywhere.
It is like having your gym instructor tell you that the core must be in good shape. The core being the center of your body. It consists of the abdomen muscles, the hips, the spine, and the back muscles. The core is the foundation of your body.
When the core is out of shape or for some reason not able to do what it should we humans feel the pain – literally and also figuratively.
In order to keep all the things in my life circling at roughly the same speed the core must be in optimal shape I have to be able to manage the balance.
There was a time back in roughly 1998 that my core was way out of balance and because of this I missed out on many of the “better parts” of life. One thing was in control, and I was out of control. I had gone back to school when David and Ellen were 8 and 10. What I was doing educationally dominated my life. I worked from 8-5, at 5 I left my office drove to Petters warehouse where My supper consisted of their free popcorn. By about 5:30 I was at the Southdale library where I stayed studying until they closed at 9:30.
My schedule looked like this
Monday – class immediately after work getting home about 10:30
Tuesday – Thursday – work 8-5, a walk through Petters Warehouse, the library 5:30-9:30 then home to bed
Friday – work 8-5 then family time at home
Saturday – library all day
Sunday – church and Sunday School then family time
This was an insane schedule for not me but greatly impacted Rod and our kids. I distinctly remember August of that year. We had a vacation planned for the last two weeks of August and I didn’t have school. The week before this vacation and a break from school I told Rod I felt like a big old turtle crossing a busy road not sure if I could or would make it across. If I did make it I was getting a break and I didn’t well I guess if I didn’t, I didn’t. But I did make it.
The “education” hula hoop was definitely the dominate weight in my life at this time. All the other hula hoop weights were diminished or nonexistent and my core was worn to a nub.
Well I kept all the hula hoops going and made it through that time in my life.
We all have times when one thing or another are so big, so pressing so dominate that if we aren’t careful we let things fall.
We can be distracted by obligations, expectations, and responsibilities and we can miss opportunities to enjoy relationships and simply be in the moment. We often especially miss out on opportunities to be with those closest to us because we take for granted that our loved ones will always be there. They simply form part of the background of our lives, or we put off spending quality time with them until “everything else is done.”
In Luke 10:38-42, Martha misses the opportunity to be with Jesus. There are two times in scripture that Mary and Martha are identified, the story we are focusing on today and a story about the death of their brother Lazarus.
The story of Mary and Martha is a rather well-known story. These are sisters that live with their brother Lazarus. Although the bible does not tell us directly, it is likely that Martha is the oldest. Martha Mary and Lazarus are known to be friends and followers of Jesus. Today Jesus and his disciples have come to visit the family.
As is tradition in the biblical Jewish family we find Martha in the kitchen. It seems that Martha held firmly to the roles of the women of the day and so there she was preparing meals and providing hospitality to the guests.
Sister Mary seems to be more liberated and comfortable as a disciple. She is not doing the things that women did but instead she is doing what men did – she is at Jesus feet and eager to learn from him.
Mary reminds me a bit of an aunt of mine. At family gatherings like the big Christmas celebrations when the meal was complete, and the kids had scattered and the women were gathered in the kitchen doing the dishes and cleaning up, this particular aunt could be found reclining in the chair either dosing or joining in the men’s conversations. I guess she was the liberated aunt!
I remember my mom complaining about the fact that this aunt (my mom’s sister-in-law) did not help with the meal clean-up.
Well back to our story. Martha is irritated and in all likely hood needed help, plus in the first century men and not women were supposed to learn from the rabbi so maybe Martha was also upset about Mary’s inappropriate behavior. When she has finally had enough, she goes to where Jesus and Mary were and she says “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?
Mary and Martha were quite different persons. Yet they were sisters and lived in harmony together. Sure there were irritations and disputes, but they were family. They were bound together by family ties and by a common faith in and love for Jesus.
They approached their faith differently. Martha the practical role following one and Mary the freer spirit willing to break with tradition both loved Jesus and longed to follow Him.
I’m not going to focus on which sister did things correctly and which did not but instead I want to emphasis the need to “appreciate the better parts” as Jesus states. He says,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus wants us to focus on getting the “better part” of all that we do by putting the first things first.
There is a story told of a professor teaching a time-management seminar. This professor used a wide-mouthed gallon jar and rocks. Picked some fist sized rock in the jar and then asked the class if the jar was full – instead of me telling the story watch it on the screen
When the sand or the pebbles are been added there isn’t room for the big rocks and if there isn’t room for the big things your core “your body” gets all out of whack.
Well friends, Mary has it right, she put Jesus in the very center. Where do you put Him? It is so easy to lose focus in life or to say it another way to lose our center. When we lose our center, we will always miss the “better part of Life” always!
I know from experience that when my large most important things in life are not attended to first, they get over-shadowed by the things of less importance. When I don’t pray early in the day, I can so easily not pray all day. When I don’t read the bible and meditation first it often does not get done. I need to constantly remind myself to “put the first things first”. I trust that God will always make room for the rest.
Easy, no but with consistent practice a healthy habit of outing Jesus first can be developed.
In her book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver shares the following story.
As a young teenager, I read a book about Andrae Crouch, a popular gospel artist at the time. Andrae’s preacher father had prayed over his twelve-year-old son’s hands when their church needed a pianist, and God had answered his prayer. Andrae not only became the church pianist, but also went on to bless thousands with his music and powerful songs.
Well, that definitely inspired me. “Dear Jesus,” I prayed the next afternoon as I sat down at the piano. “you know I’m not very good at this piano stuff. Would you do for me what you did for Andrae?”
I waited, but nothing happened.
Instead, the word of the Lord came to me saying….well, to be honest, I didn’t actually hear the audible voice of God, I never have. But at that moment it was almost as if I did. Somewhere up in the region of the right side of my heart, the voice of the Lord came to me, saying:
“Practice, Joanna, practice.”
Practice. I have an idea that’s what God wants to whisper to our hearts when we ask for the Better Part. “You’ve got to invest time, darling. You need to do a little every day.” If we want to be accomplished Christians, and if we want to know God in all his fullness, there is something crucial about the act of seeking Jesus on a regular, day-by-day basis.
Remember the hula hoop girl we watched earlier. She knew the secrets. She found her center and she practiced. We can do the same in our walk with Jesus. We already know that Jesus is the center and needs to be first. Now to practice putting Him first in all we do.
Through this scripture is saying to each of us—
“you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Please pray with me
Distracted by comparison.
Distracted by worry.
Connected to computers and cell phones.
Connected to calendars and chores.
Disconnected from others.
Disconnected from you.
Let me sit at your feet.
Become my one true and holy passion.
Hymn UMH # 393 Spirit of the Living God
Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer
Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Birth giver of summer, of sun and warmth
Of the green earth and blue seas,
We give thanks for the many blessings
Flowing from you to us, like
A basket of summer fruit.
Gracious and generous God, creator of all,
Pouring your love into Christ Jesus,
Your steadfast promise of love, of
Hope, to us, our faith.
May we hear your words calling,
us to be your Body.
Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, tend to those who grieve.
We pray for the suffering of this world
Of body, mind, and spirit, may your
Healing love embrace the pain
Holding it with tender care.
Gracious and generous God, merciful lover
Of souls, take our worries and the
Brokenness of the world and heal it
As only you are able. Speak into
Our lives and show us the way
To be your love, healing.
As Martha offers hospitality to the stranger
As Mary listens carefully to your word
May we learn from our sisters to
Be your hands and heart in the world.
~ written by Terri, and posted on RevGalBlogPals blog. http://revgalblogpals.blogspot.ca/
We ask all this in your son’s name, who taught us to pray together
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen
*Hymn TFWS #2222 Servant Song
In most families, each person has a role and responsibility to the family. As the family of God and body of Christ, we likewise share in this. Each of us has gifts and talents, different ways in which we are called to serve; and that is what makes the body of Christ, the church, as unique as it is. God also calls us to give and reminds us in 2 Corinthians 9:6 that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of us should give what we have decided in our hearts to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This means just as each of has different talents, we are all able to give differently. Whatever your gift is, the Lord says give it generously and cheerfully.
*Doxology UMH # 95 Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow
*Prayer of Dedication
God it is with grateful hearts that we come thanking you for bringing us into your family through Jesus’ gift of love to us.
And for that, we owe you everything. So today, God, with love and thanksgiving, we give to you now these offerings that they might be used for the building of your kingdom and spreading the gospel, here and everywhere. Amen
*Hymn UMH # 382 Have Thine Own Way, Lord
May the love of God surround you. May the love of God uplift you.
May the love of God stand with you through the changes ahead.
May the love of God convince you, in every situation, to love.
Go now to love others, even as Christ loves you.
Kwasi I. Kena Discipleship Resources 2008
- Write a little note on your prayer stick and bring it back next week.
Remember to drop off your prayer stick and take a new one. Pray for the name(s) all week, make a note on the stick that you prayed for those named and return it the next week.