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Communion Meditations (2022)


Mary and Martha

Originally scheduled for June 12

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
(Luke 10:38-42 NASB)

Times change. In this passage we go back to a time in which it was understood that the women of the household handled all of the kitchen chores. With a little imagination we can understand the tension. Perhaps Martha was just a little plump, the older sister, who was accustomed to opening the kitchen door with one hand because the other one was carrying a tray of dirty dishes. Mary, a little younger and a little cuter, probably knew how to open that door with a smile. It seems likely that Martha’s point of view would get a lot of sympathy from the women who were present.
But kindly notice this: when Jesus rebukes Martha, he does so very gently. This is not an exercise in patriarchy but in discipleship. What Martha is doing is good; but what Mary is doing is better. As a result there is no harsh rebuke but a tender sympathy and complete explanation. If you sense anger in Martha’s words, then hear the gentle answer that turns away wrath.
Mary’s attitude may serve as a lesson for us in communion. In this section of Scripture Mary does not speak except by her actions. She is in the right place: at her Master’s feet. In this, we may see three things:
            First, she is listening to Jesus. It’s not just social chatter; He is teaching. Sometimes you have to listen when the occasion comes along; you don’t always get the choice of when that might happen.
            Second, she is being obedient to Jesus. She is doing what a good disciple does; she hears and then obeys. Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and therefore follow him.
            Third, she is trusting Jesus. She is not listening to him just to get his opinion but to learn the way which she should follow. Despite the social conventions of her time, she is confident that Jesus will consider her to be one of his followers. In Christ there is neither male nor female.
We can see from Mary’s example how we ought to behave during communion, particularly during the period of contemplation.
Listening. Are you listening to the instruction of Jesus? Communion commemorates the most important event in human history; the death of Christ on the cross. It is time to listen and pay attention.
Obedience. Examine yourself; see if you are entirely obedient to your Lord and Master. If there is an area where you are hoping he won’t see, or worse don’t care if he does, bring that to him so that you might repent and be obedient to his words.
Trusting. Remember that some day you are going to die. Make sure of what happens next; trust him to take you home to his Father’s house. This world is not your home, you’re just passing through.

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