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Trinity 5



So are you a Martha or a Mary? And that applies equally to all sexes.

When visitors arrive do we welcome them in then sit back and relax to listen to all they have to tell us, or are we beset by the need to rush round tidying the house or mowing the lawn, preparing and cooking an elaborate meal inside or out on the BBQ?

A lot can depend on our position in the family and associated conditioning. Older children are often taught to be the ‘responsible one’ expected to take the lead, showing all courtesies to others, in other words attending to the perceived needs and comforts whenever visitors arrive. As in Martha’s day the tidiness of the house and the quality of food provided are benchmarks of status and efficiency by which we expect to be judged, rather than relaxed ‘take us as you find us’ responses.

Jesus’ importance as a visitor to their home not surprisingly sent Martha into overdrive, whilst younger sister, Mary, whilst equally impressed by their visitor, simply wanted to hang on his every word. Poor Martha now felt and expressed her unfairness at this situation to Jesus, whose response can seem rather harsh. ‘Martha, don’t worry about mundane tasks, only one thing is important and Mary has made the better choice – to listen to what I have to say.’

Not so many years ago everyone dressed in their ‘Sunday Best’ to attend church; suits, hats, gloves were the expected norm. Nowadays we are far more relaxed in our attire for church, but this is not a drop in standards nor disrespectful to God. I think it’s more about us all knowing we don’t just meet God on a Sunday in church.  He is with us all the time, every day, whatever we’re doing, even at home in our pj’s – perhaps especially when we’re in our pj’s! We can converse with him night or day, wherever we are and listen for him as the most important times of our lives. Everything wordly is to an extent mundane, we don’t, in fact we can’t make an impression upon him – he accepts each of us exactly as we are, wherever we are, whatever mood we are in, however busy or relaxed we are, with his unconditional love. Though I am certain that his love for us is strongest when we give our time to listen to him; allowing ourselves to be influenced by his Words, his teachings, his actions – the kindness and compassion he shows to the least of us, inviting us to follow his example and spread his love to everyone we meet – whatever their circumstances, or status, however they may be dressed.

When our own incumbent visits it’s not the quality of the tea and cake we serve that’s important, it’s what we talk about, because that will be of God, and that’s what’simportant. When we are Marthas and set store by wordly things we are only seeking the world’s approval, but when we are Marys we are enfolded in God’s delight and grace. 


  • Can we be so busy doing Church activities we are still Marthas rather than Marys?
Page last updated: Friday 8th July 2022 2:52 PM
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