Being Free to Choose the Better Way

 Gate Pa – Pentecost 9 2013

Hebrew Scripture:      Amos 8:1-12  
Psalm:                         Psalm 52
Epistle:                        Col 1:15-29     
Gospel:                        Luke 10:38-42                        
What I want to say:
explore this story as being about how offer hospitality in house church (only kind of church) – who carried the brunt of that.
can’t be read in isolation from Jesus actions at last supper

What I want to happen:
what is the good part we are to choose? 

The Sermon

      1.      Introduction:

This is kind gospel reading that can get preacher into lot of trouble.
            need tred carefully here.
Pauline told story on Tuesday down wellington
            where woman usually very quiet
            having listened to priest talk about need focus Jesus rather than on mundane things like morning afternoon teas
            spoke up about how she and few others went out every Sunday made morning tea
                        left end tidy up
                        what really appreciate help and support instead pious nonsense
very easy be very patronising towards Martha
all those work as Martha did
truth is our communities fail without them
where are you in this story
            what questions have?
            what like to say Jesus about that?

      2.      Gospels

before we start, we need to note already head story about Mary and Martha this year -> from John’s gospel
            big differences
These differences remind us Gospels are NOT history books
books theology
            who is Jesus
            who is God
            who are we
            how do we follow Christ in way of love – Paul describes it
using and reinterpreting stories Jesus
some differences are
            where sits in story
            no mention Lazarus – Martha welcomes Jesus and entourage to her house
                        no man about
            Mary keeps her hair hidden and oil away.
            John – about cost oil Mary used and how given to poor.
            story heard today issue is about roles of 2 sisters in providing hospitality
as read need keep in mind all church were house churches
            each time met burden hospitality on house owner
            one level addresses issue – who should carry the burden of that hospitality?
This story understood at whole lot levels
lets explore some of them.

      3.      2 Sisters

basic level story of two sisters.
            one feels responsible for providing guests needs
            feeling very annoyed at fact sister is not helping – wants Jesus intervene
sure few you sympathise, both Mary and Martha on that.
            very human situation

       4.      Stress and Pressure

at another level this is about stress and pressure
language around Martha is one of noise, tumult, uproar
             -> impression given is that she is greatly distracted by her roles
            distraction is blinding her to everything else
two dimensions to this
overwhelmed by anxiety of what is required
so consumed by task at hand that lose sight bigger picture
here are some examples
seems that we Anglicans can at time get so concerned about getting words liturgy right and people doing right things at right time
forget liturgy about entering space where we met by life changing God
            we are being shaped and moulded to be a people join in God’s mission
words and actions not important in and of themselves
important because they are vehicle by which God acts
sometimes we get so consumed what happens on Sunday
            becomes measure of parishes life
            forget importance of what happens on Sunday
                        how shape how live life rest week
remember talking to parishioner at Ngongotaha when first decided become local shared ministry unit
said so consumed fund raising pay stipend vicar forgotten what there for
            now look be people mission
too often we keep church going for sake keeping church going
when do that loose sight what church about
God’s mission
become like Martha
Martha so consumed everything right
forgotten point of it was offer hospitality to  Jesus
turns out maybe Mary was one truly offering hospitality – by staying with men and listening.
Not is not to say that what Martha was doing was unimportant
            she forgot why she was doing it

       5.      Last level at play in this story.

sometimes read this story in terms Martha trying to protect sister from ridicule and abuse for taking role of man
            sitting feet teacher as disciple
none commentators read suggested this reading
focus instead is on how Jesus accepts her presence and honours her.
talked a lot about how society Jesus lived clearly divided
            people divided those in  and those out
Jesus modelled radical new way of all being in
            based on all being loved by God
            all included in new community – based on God’s undeserved love
            rather than dominant ethnic, social, religious and moral grounds for inclusion or exclusion
Jesus talked about this
modelled it who accepted meals from
modelled it in last supper
remember every time we gather at this table
all are welcome at God’s table because all are God’s people
here Jesus goes further
breaks down walls locked people into the roles allowed to play
Martha saw her role as provider of hospitality who could not be a disciple
Mary saw her role as disciple who offered hospitality
Jesus honoured that
in doing so frees Mary, 
            also frees Martha,
            and all disciples from social and religious expectations locked them into certain roles and certain ways of being.
something models again last supper when he acts as servant
we are all freed to be disciples
we are all freed to be servants
we are all freed to offer hospitality

       6.      Conclusion

so one way reading this story is hear Jesus rebuke Martha’s focus of providing hospitality
another reading this story hear Jesus say role of being disciple included Martha and Mary
not preserve of men
the role of providing hospitality was not Martha’s alone
belonged to whole community
for house churches Luke writing for
clear message that those whose house church met in were not overly anxious about offering hospitality
join all others prayers, singing psalms, breaking bread
when take this reading with Jesus other acts
            clear message role hospitality shared by all.
return question
where are you in this story
            what questions have?
            what like to say Jesus about that?
            what would you like to say to the rest of us?