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We have been asked to explore current trends in the church in light of the emerging discussion of what it means to cultivate the missional church. To begin the discussion we would like to draw your imagination to the journey of Jesus as he is invited into the home of "a woman named Martha."Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. 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 mysetp Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)
With whom do you identify in this episode? With Martha who is actively engaged in creating a comfortable and hospitable environment for Jesus, or with Mary who disengages herself from the household tasks, sits down, and listens to what Jesus has to say? Most active and concerned church people will almost certainly identify with Martha. We may even feel a bit resentful about Jesus' response to her request for help. Like Martha, we are committed, involved, responsible, and very, very busy people. While some of us may have regular times for quiet devotion, it is very difficult for most of us to take time out, to slow down, step back, and listen-even to our spouses. We live in a world that honors activity rather than quietness, production rather than contemplation, Martha rather than Mary. But Luke reminds us of a different path. Calling us to pause in the midst of the hectic tasks of life and ministry, asking us to detach ourselves from the many demands of job and family, Luke declares that taking the time to sit at the Lord's feet is "the better part."
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