We traveled to Bethany this morning. For Jesus this would have been a short walk from the Mount of Olives – for us a longer drive thru security checkpoints and around the wall that separates the West Bank, but that’s another story. Bethany is a place Jesus was familiar with and visited often when He was in Jerusalem.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
We so want everything from the Bible to be black and white – a simple choice – this or that. Even this story like so many others is reduced to a choice – are you Mary or Martha? How will you respond?What if the answer is both – and? That would be much more like Jesus – pushing our boundaries to include more – busy at the work to be done AND engaged in worship and being with Jesus.
That’s what we have been doing – busy getting from place to place AND taking time at each place to reflect on the things of Jesus – or as our guide Mike says, “Take time to take a Soul picture that will stay with you.”
We finished our day with a visit to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was a busy place filled with Marys and Marthas. The prayers of God’s people are richer when you hear them in so many different languages. The Church of All Nations is a place where people of all nations come and become united in one language – the language of prayer.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17:20-26
May prayer unite us all amidst our many differences.
Tomorrow: The Passion of Jesus