My dear Martha!

i  think I may have been sold a load of tosh! How many times have I heard the story of Mary and Martha reduced to a lesson on the relative importance of sitting at Jesus feet versus doing house work?  As if there ever has been a divide in the heart of God between the sacred and the secular. Duh… I feel a little embarrassed that I’ve bought into this line for so long!

The other week I wrote about the flowers and since that experience I have been challenged in my understanding of the message of Mary and Martha. Sometimes I too can get caught up in doing the things that God has called me to, it can get to the point that this precious work that God has given me to do with him, takes on epic proportions and becomes a source of stress and strife. I can, like Martha, get to the point where I start to protest bitterly at the unfairness of it all. After all ‘I’m doing this for you, God!’.  When I do that, his response is always “ Beloved….” Or in Martha’s case “ My dear Martha!”.

I wonder if the message is … whether we are sitting at the feet of Jesus or preparing him a beautiful meal, the one thing necessary is to remember that we are deeply loved by him. It’s like he wants us to see him smiling on us so that we can smile right back. There is one particular child in our community who is about 18 months old, her absolute delight seems to be catching ones eye and bursting into a full body smile! And the beautiful thing is that one cannot but help smiling straight back in response to her. I love the simplicity of this transaction, the smile she gives is given freely, it’s unearned, and nothing expected back save a warm response. I wonder if that’s what its like for God and us; he’s constantly smiling on us and singing over us, hoping that we will see and hear his love.

I quickly fall into the trap of trying to earn his love which has already been freely given, when all he wants is for me to know that I am loved and smiled upon and to love him back in whatever way I choose.  And so, “My dear Martha!”

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