The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
This week’s reflection is from Rev Rick Ormrod. Rev Rick Ormrod is a Presbyter serving in the West Pennine Moors Circuit in Lancashire. He is married to Susan and has one grown up daughter and two cats. Rick is a former member of Methodist Council and currently a District Probationers’ Secretary.
Luke 10: 38-42
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 myself? 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.”
I’ve been thinking quite a lot about Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha in the past few days. For many years it puzzled me as to why Jesus criticised Martha for keeping middle east hospitality rules and doing her best to look after an honoured guest. I think I have the answer.
Martha was offering the wrong kind of hospitality. Jesus wanted his friends Mary and Martha to sit with him and listen to him. With the cross before him Jesus had come to Bethany looking for an oasis of quiet and calm, not people rushing around preparing an elaborate meal. Mary was praised not so much because she was being quiet, but because she had realised what it was that Jesus needed.
So often as Christians we want to be kind to people, but we want to be kind to them in our way and if our way isn’t what the other wants, we can get offended; as was Martha when she said “Lord. Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.”
If we are trying to be kind to others we need to find out what they really need, rather than what we think they need. It’s a bit like the old lady waiting by the side of the road who was helped to cross to the other side, when what she actually wanted was to wave down a taxi! We need to forget our own plans for people and give them the help they really need.
In the present situation that could also apply to re-opening our buildings for worship. Many of us want to do this as soon as possible, but should we be asking ourselves if this is what our churches and wider communities need right now? Is re-opening the best thing we can do for our churches and communities at the moment? What hospitality should we be offering to Jesus and each other right now?
As Christian disciples we want to do our best for you
and for each other.
Help us to listen to you
and to offer the right hospitality to each other,
and to the communities we serve.
In Jesus name. Amen.