Busy Beyond Belief
(Posted July 18, 2019)
“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
― Henry David Thoreau
It’s a familiar story to most women these days. When a celebration is needed, guess who ends up in the kitchen or cleaning the house in preparation, as the guests of honor gather in the other room? This Sunday’s scripture readings, while they are short, bring us to very similar situations. First we hear in Genesis about the evening that three strangers show up in Abraham’s camp. Traditional ancient hospitality says that Abraham would order up the best dinners for them and he does -- to his wife Sarah who, of course, is in the kitchen. It would never occur to Abraham to lend a hand.
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Next, in the Gospel, we enter the house of Martha and Mary just as Jesus, the guest of honor, arrives. Of course Martha races around tidying up and then into the kitchen to provide a feast. But then Mary, her sister, settles in at Jesus’ feet, intently listening to everything the Teacher has to say. Is it any surprise that, after a short while, Martha is fuming about having to do everything herself while Mary “is doing nothing?” But here’s the question. Is it wrong for Mary to be devoting her entire attention to Jesus? Is it wrong for Martha to be fuming about being stuck in the kitchen? No wonder so many people have a reaction to this text. But is it really a case of “either or?” Either being busy with work for others, as opposed to sitting and listening? Or is it more a case of both sisters who need to look for balance -- a case of “both and”? Come this Sunday for the “short and sweet” answer to these questions for when you are Busy Beyond Belief.