Gospel – Luke 10:38-42
Sermon – Dr. Lee J. Hill
July 17, 11:00am – Eucharist
Mary and Martha
Guest preacher, the Rev. J. Lee Hill
July 20, 3:30-5pm – Village Harvest
Please email Andrea to volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (540) 847-9002. Pack bags 1-3PM, Deliver food to clients’ cars 3-5PM.
We had 24 in house and 7 online for Pentecost with Rev Lee Hill, Diocese missioner for racial justice and healing. His sermon was on the story of Mary and Martha a short story that appears abruptly in Luke when Jesus visits their home in Bethany. Both Mary and Martha serve, yet Mary understands the priority and necessity of choosing to be present with Jesus at his feet which was the key point to Rev. Hill. Martha is doing everything to get ready except be with Jesus. Jesus seems to favor Mary’s approach . Both of them were not typical of the time – Mary a female sitting with a prominent male guest and Martha a female head of household.
As of Sunday, we have collected 182 markers out of a total of 250 for donation to Caroline’s Promise for the news school year. We hope to make up the rest this week.
We celebrated BJ’s birthday. BJ is our bread maker for Sunday communion.
Another unique Sunday for music. Larry on guitar and Helmut on violin teamed up for the prelude, “Sweet Hour of Prayer”. Larry took the offertory, “Because all men are brothers”. The tune is Bach. Tom Glazer wrote the words in 1947. Peter Paul and Mary’s version in 1965 is probably the best known. It also fit the work and message of Rev. Hill
Lunch was held in the parish house in honor of Rev. Hill. A portion of the “Sacred Ground” group met with Rev. Hill during Lunch. Hill’s work is to encourage Sacred Ground as a prime responsibility. He is also promoting a second ground that is intended for Black and Indigenous populations. Another activity is help congregations handling racially related issues. For example, he is working with Little Fork church with a Confederal statue on their property.
The painting is inspired by Luke 10:38-42 where Jesus enters the home of Mary and Martha. It happens after the Good Samaritan. The passage only occurs in Luke’s Gospel.
Martha greets Jesus but is preoccupied with tasks. Mary chose listening to the teachings of Jesus over helping her sister prepare food. Jesus is friends with this family who live in Bethany. Later, just before the crucifixion, Jesus will raise Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus.
I. Theme – Surprises related to hospitality and the hidden presence of God.
“Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha” – Vermeer (1655)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
Today’s readings remind us of the surprises related to hospitality and the hidden presence of God. In Genesis , Abraham receives three heavenly visitors who speak of the imminent birth of Sarah’s son. Paul describes the mystery of reconciliation with God and its implications for the Church. Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha and reminds us of the importance of paying attention to God’s presence and words.
An extraordinary message runs through today’s scriptures. The theme is best expressed in the question put to Abraham: “Is anything too wonderful for the lord?”
Sarah laughed at the promise that she would bear a child in her old age; thus the name of this son of promise was given before his conception. It means “He will laugh”! The divine communication surrounding the birth of Isaac gives us the delightful feeling that God loves to surprise people. Isaac’s very name seems to convey that God’s joy in fulfilling the promise to Abraham would ring through the universe forever. In this way the messianic line was established by God’s miraculous power.
The scripture readings contain another miracle. The question in verse 1 of the psalm is not found in today’s reading, but it prompts the response contained there: “Who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?” The psalmist answers by saying that only those who lead a blameless life are entitled to abide with God. If this were the only message we had, we might despair, for not one of us would qualify. But if we leap from the psalm to Colossians, the “hope of glory” is electrifying news. Miracle of miracles—Christ dwells mysteriously within us. Through him we stand holy and blameless before God. We can now abide upon God’s holy hill.
Christ for us and Christ in us is a mystery we can never fully understand. Better we stand in humble awe and gratitude than to try to analyze God’s doings. It is enough to know that God’s steadfast love and mercy shine in God’s word and deeds.
The gospel passage continues the line of thought that there are moments when the most important thing we can do is immerse ourselves in the wonder and glory of God’s self-revelation and to enjoy abiding with God. “There is need of only one thing” for God to work miracles in our lives.
It would be wrong to over-generalize specific occasions in scripture. It is possible that the next time Jesus visited that household, Mary served while Martha sat at his feet and Jesus chopped the vegetables. The point is that we must be attuned to the lord’s visit in our own household. We need to strike a balance between serving and simply enjoying the lord’s presence in quiet attentiveness to God alone.
Today’s readings abound in possibilities, including the possibility that we will suffer serious consequences if we deviate from God’s vision. Openness to God’s vision opens us to lively and transformative energies and contributes to the healing the world. Closing off to God’s vision dilutes and weakens the divine energy available to us. We may consider ourselves spiritual, religious, or both but be heading away from God’s vision for our lives and our world.
“Christ in the House of Mary and Martha” – Vermeer (1655)
The Gospel reading is here.
Let’s set the scene. We are in the long travel narrative in Luke (9:51 — 19:28). Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51) and instructs those who would follow that the journey must be their first priority (9:57-58). Jesus sends the seventy ahead with no provisions for the journey and insists they depend on the hospitality of those in towns who welcome them (10:1-11).
Immediately preceding the stop at Martha’s home, Jesus tells a story about a man on a journey who is beaten and left to die. He is saved by an unexpected merciful neighbor (10:30-37). The story of “the good Samaritan” confirms that the journey to Jerusalem is dangerous, and that disciples might welcome the compassion of someone who, in other circumstances, would be considered undesirable.
This week we are in a seemingly peaceful setting – Jesus is invited into the home of Mary and Martha who live with their brother Lazarus in Bethany not far from Jerusalem. This is only reference to Mary and Martha in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). The two sisters and their brother, Lazarus, figure prominently in the fourth gospel, but hardly at all in the synoptics.
We have to look inside to see our own unique gifts that are a part of our community . These appear in soul searching as a result of our faith if we take the time to search them out. And we have to be ready to receive the gifts of others as well.
Martha as well as May has the opportunity to receive God’s grace through faith through their identification with Christ. Martha needs to see that she needs nourishment. She needs to be “renewed in faith and strengthened for service.” Jesus is the host with many gifts to give. We have to take the time to “get it.”
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Although faith and science have often been in conflict in the past and many see the mission as only a triumph in science, there are examples of faith a part of the Apollo program.
One of the first acts performed on Apollo 11, after first landing on the Moon, was a celebration of the Communion by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. In 1969, Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, where he was given the communion kit that he took to Sea of Tranquility. Upon landing on the Moon in the Eagle LM, Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control:
“Noli Me Tangere” (Touch Me Not) – Correggio (1534)
In Bishop Curry’s book Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus, he writes “We need some crazy Christians like Mary Magdalene and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the Gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death.”