Choices for liberty - Mary or Martha.

 

 

(Luke 10:38 NKJV)  Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

(Luke 10:39 NKJV)  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.

(Luke 10:40 NKJV)  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."

(Luke 10:41 NKJV)  And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

(Luke 10:42 NKJV)  "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

The story of Mary and Martha traditionally reminds us the tyranny of the urgent versus the importance of regular times of solitude and communion with God away from the distractions of the World. Martha was distracted by too much serving, and we too can be distracted by doing too much the works of the Christ ministry yet forget the centrality of Christ in all that we do. Yet, this was not the major theme of the encounter between Mary and Martha with Jesus.

As Jesus and His entourage entered into a certain village, it was Martha who saw the commotion of the famous preacher, some say Messiah, and quickly extended the invitation to Jesus to visit her house. She was not prepared and it was not a pre-arranged appointment and so she caught out by the need to be hospitable and to prepare a meal not only for Jesus alone but also for the disciples.    It was very important that the guests were well treated and Martha immediately set about serving the guests whilst her sister, Mary, just sat at Jesus’ feet and did not help her at all. She was too captivated by the radical message of God’s love, grace and mercy, through the preaching of Jesus.

Jesus took a risk to enter to the house of Mary and Martha for the woman was not allowed to sit with the man at the Synagogue to worship God and listen to the preaching. They must also cover the heads. Jesus going into the house without the presence of the man in the house actually discarded the Jewish laws. By accepting the invitation of Martha, Jesus was treating them as equals with men, worthy of respect and a hearing. Jesus was going to preach in their home, and they were to have the front seats.

The prophets of old have yearned and sought to be seated at the presence of God Himself, to understand the truth of the Word of God. Even Moses only saw the back of God. Those who came to see Jesus, only could hear Him from afar having to jostle with the amazing crowd that followed everywhere He went. Here we have, Mary and Martha having a private audience with God Himself, in person, able not only to listen to the preaching of Jesus but to be in conversation, to ask questions. Even then, God leaves the choice open to them, whether to sit at Jesus’ feet.

The mega church pastors in Singapore would have loved to have Jesus preaching for them. Yet, we believed by faith the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for Jesus is no longer on Earth. The Patriarchs of Old Testament likewise look forward to the coming of the Messiah by faith, for Jesus had not come yet.  We look backwards in time, hoping and wishing we were there to listen and behold the glory of the living God. Many have longed to see the Son of God in person, yet when Martha had the opportunity, she did not take up the opportunity but reverted to doing what her culture and status as a women had taught her to do, ie to serve at the table, to serve the guests. Jesus was giving Martha who had invited Him, the opportunity to respond in kind, to break the stereotype image of what a woman should do. Yet, Martha failed to move out of the closet.

Martha was so perplexed at the large crowd and to serve the guests that she demanded that her sister help her. Martha was clearly troubled and anxious to prepare the meal and serve the crowd which was her normal duty and role, that she missed the once in a thousand years opportunity to sit at Jesus feet. It was an open door and an opportunity given to Mary and Martha to be ministered by God Himself, and Mary chose what was right which would not be denied of her. It was not the occasion to serve the tables which she would have done day in and day out for her life, but in that short few hours, reserved for God and God alone. Martha could have just gone to buy food for the visitors rather than spend time preparing for the meal. So often we do what is important, but missed completely the bigger picture.

What do we do when God knocks at the door? Do we invite Him in? and after He comes into our abode, do we keep doing our routine works as if God was not there, or do we start given Him attention and the space to speak life changing truths into our lives. There is nothing wrong with services for God, for isn’t Martha serving and ministering to God Himself.   Yet, God is not as interested in our service for Him, than building up a relationship and fellowship. Our service should come out of our relationship with God and not vice-versa.

It would have been very different if a prior arrangement had been made, and so the cooking and preparation could be done prior to Jesus’ visit. Martha could have then join Mary to listen at Jesus feet without much fuss. Yet, it would not have made it a point of decision. Jesus’ visit was totally unexpected for they were two women. However, Martha had the courage to invite Jesus, risking rejection, and Jesus responded to her faith. Jesus had crossed the barrier of gender inequality but Martha so conditioned by it, could find no way of escape. Martha too must make the choice to move out of the closet and to be free.

If Jesus had dropped by in 2010 in Singapore to a fellowship of a group of GLBT religious folks, as God and Messiah, would we listen to Jesus or would we have just given Him the common welcome drinks and food. Are we so conditioned to what the Christian Right had said that God would certainly condemn us that our hearts would already been closed to Jesus? Can we choose to listen to Christ Himself above the loud voices of the Religious Right, just as Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet ignoring the religious voice of the Pharisees than women should be doing the house work and serving the tables? The choice is with us and not God. God is always there.

The problem is not with God, nor with Jesus Christ. It is with us, the Gay community when we chose to believe in the lies, rhetoric and condemnation of the Christian Right rationalized in the name of tradition and orthodoxy. We let them mold God in their image rather than listen to Jesus Christ Himself. We can’t see God without a paradigm shift for God is here already waiting for us, ready to shower His acceptance and love. When we start to ignore the voices of the religious right and begin to accept ourselves as God’s creation – wonderfully created as a gay person and not a sin or even worst as a result of a fallen nature, we will begin to see God and breach the gap that society, religion and culture has separated us from God. Just like Mary, once we opened our hearts and start being captivated by Christ the Savior, we would never be the same again. Moving out of the closet is a choice.

 
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord 
Open the eyes of my heart 
I want to see You 
I want to see You 

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord 
Open the eyes of my heart 
I want to see You 
I want to see You 

{Chorus} 
To see you high and lifted up 
Shining in the light of Your glory 
Pour out Your power and love 
As we sing holy, holy, holy 


{Chorus} 

Holy, holy, holy 
Holy, holy, holy 
Holy, holy, holy 
I want to see You 

 

 

 

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