July 21, 2013 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost | The Community
The Anglican Church of Canada home page
Sites at the Anglican Church of CanadaFind a ChurchFrequently Asked QuestionsStaff Listing

July 21, 2013 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Christ in the House of Mary and Martha; Johannes Vermeer 1655This week’s readings

As I am writing this post I am listening to the presentations and greetings from various leaders in the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Federation at Joint Assembly. I have the live feed on in the corner of my screen, listening to remarks from other parts of the communion observing our assembly and the work we have done over the past three years.

To me, these remarks are so important to inform our work. The theme of Joint Assembly is Together for the Love of the World. How important, then, to hear how we are doing at serving the world around us from our sisters and brothers in Christ around the world.

This has me reflecting on Amos as an outside voice bringing this terrible prophecy to the northern kingdoms of Israel. He was a farmer from the south, why would anyone listen to him. But he proved to be right. In this moment in time we are surrounded by voices, from other denominations, from other faiths, people of no faith and the ‘Nones’, who have important words about our Christian witness. Are we listening?

In the letter to the Colossians Paul, in this hymn to Christ, reminds us of the reconciling work of God through the resurrection and the Holy Spirit. As I am listening to the live stream the Rev. Dr. Richard Leggett is reflecting on some of the initial attitudes that kept Anglicans and Lutherans apart for over 400 years. Despite the different expressions of our Christian faith, focussing ourselves on Christ can only bring unity.

Our gospel puts a choice before us. I have heard many sermons defending Martha, and I would suggest we resist that temptation. Jesus is not saying Martha is not faithful, or evil, or exploitative, or contrary to God. He is simply saying her sister, Mary, has chosen a better way. Until our meetings spend more time in Bible study and prayer than we do on discussing which lightbulbs we will purchase or how we will raise money to replace the windows, we need to be convicted by this story of Mary and Martha, and be compelled to choose to sit at Christ’s feet. All of our tasks are, indeed, serving the Church. Martha was literally serving Jesus and, yet, Jesus still raises up Mary’s attitude of listening as the better choice.

What choices are you making as you prepare for Sunday?

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.

This entry was posted in The Preachers' Table and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to July 21, 2013 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

  1. Dawn,
    I’m really intrigued by the idea (maybe from the Brazos’ Theological Commentary on Luke, but I can’t remember) that Martha and Mary, along with the parable of the Good Samaritan, are a commentary on the two great commandments–that we should not put love of God in the way of love of neighbour (i.e., the priest and Levite), nor should we put love of neighbour in the way of love of God (e.g. Martha’s distraction by her many tasks of “diakonia”). Not sure exactly where to go with that, but it’s interesting.

    • Jen, that’s fascinating–perhaps even suggesting that these two loves are one in the same, and that any attempt to separate them leaves us with something incomplete. And it leads my mind back to God’s unity, as described at the beginning of that commandment(s) in the Hebrew scriptures: the Lord is one.

  2. Dawn Leger

    I’m intrigued by the pairing of the Good Samaritan and this story. Both also use the themes of hospitality.

    The Good Samaritan teaches to go as far as your resources will take you in order to be a neighbour. The story of Mary and Martha is then a cautionary reminder that the carrying out of good deeds is not enough. We must first sit at Jesus’s feet.

Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *