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?