What I’m Thinking: Pause to Learn

The story of Mary and Martha usually sets up an argument between those who value the internal life of the soul, and those who live their faith in worldly service. But wouldn’t it benefit all of us to pause and learn from time to time?

Here’s a transcript:

I have two stories in mind this week. The first is the familiar story from the tenth chapter of Luke (Luke 10:38-42) about Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha.

While Martha was in the kitchen getting everything cooked and ready, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to everything he said. When Martha demanded that Jesus send Mary in to help her, Jesus responded that “Mary had chosen the better part, and it would not be taken away from her.”

We’ve often used this story to raise up the life of contemplation and to, in some ways, put down (even condemn) the life of active assistance for one another. But in the eighteenth chapter of Genesis (Genesis 18:1-10), we find a description of Abraham’s welcome to three wandering… angels of God is probably the way our writers intend for us to read the text… and there is a very complete description of all the things that he did to see that they were comfortable, that they were welcome.

But there is a common thread to these two stories. At some point, Mary and Abraham both sat with their guests and listened.

The risk of the life of action is that we miss the opportunities to sit and to hear. The risk of the life of contemplation is that we never turn those insights and learning into concrete action in the world.

The Marthas of the world, the Sarahs of the world, the Abrahams of the world who take these actions – they are so needed in this day and time. But: without the commitment of Mary to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen, how will we ever learn?

And if we never learn, how will we ever do what is good and right and just?

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on July 15, 2019

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