Monday, July 25, 2016

Mary and Martha

Luke 10:38-42King James Version (KJV)

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

The story of Mary and Martha is especially interesting to church women.  For many years, congregations have looked to the women in their number to manage the kitchen, serve the dinners, raise money through bake sales and rummage sales, send care packages to overseas missions, and polish the silver.  It wasn't until 1967 that the Presbyterian Church in Canada began to ordain women.

But while women have assumed more teaching roles in the church, they still run the kitchen and the bake sales too.  

We had our own version of the Mary/Martha paradox last Tuesday.  Fifteen women showed up in the kitchen to give it a good scrub.  Every drawer, every shelf, the stoves, the fridge, the floor, the counters, cupboards and tables were all scrubbed down to hospital standards. 
 At the same time, four other women gathered in the minister's office to plan for worship over the summer months.

In Luke's account, Jesus said that Mary chose the better part. But in 1 Corinthians 12 Paul reminds us that --

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

So, thank you to all the women of SPPC, the Marys and the Marthas and those who wear both labels.  

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