Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just one thing: Thank you.

I chaired the Advent Festival at my church this year.  It is an evening of crafting and eating and caroling (which no one really does because they are busy crafting). Hundreds of us gather and make Advent wreaths and calendars and ornaments and nativities and decorate cookies and make things for shut-ins.

It is a very-Martha Stewart event. There is lots of tacky-glue and vintage fabric scraps and things made out of wine corks and pipe cleaners.

I was all prepared to write an amazing blog post  over at my partially-abandoned other blog (Nana's Fabulous Life) where I post about cooking and crafting at irregular intervals. The post would include so many Pinterest-able photos and how-tos. It would inspire the masses to make and make and craft and craft and invest in boatloads of red buttons and popsicle sticks. It would make the most-craft-challenged Christians save toilet paper rolls that would be transformed into clever Advent wreaths for playrooms.

I would write a blog post that would make Martha Stewart proud. And if Martha, the one from Luke 10:38-42, could read my blog post, that lady would be my biggest fan.

After all, Martha loved, loved, loved to do things. Christ visited her home. So naturally, she had to cook a meal, a big special meal. Her sister, Mary, did absolutely nothing.

Which we all know is irritating.

Mary was busy sitting at Christ's feet. While, Christ, who was probably bored and hungry, waited for Martha. Martha, who was single handedly preparing the greatest meal of her life for Christ--the son of God.

But Christ rebuked Martha--Martha, who was so busy! Martha, who would feed him! Martha, who was toiling away!

"Martha, Martha, " Christ begins (you always know you are in trouble when someone says your name twice.)

"You are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part ,which will not be taken away from her"

And then, we have no idea what happens next. Luke takes us to the introduction of the Lord's Prayer.

I imagine that Martha:

First, rolls her eyes.
Second, considers throwing dishes at Mary (she is SO IRRITATING.)
and third, sucks it up and listens to Christ (after all he is the son of God, etc.).

I also imagine that Christ eats the meal Martha prepared. He had to be hungry and I imagine, slightly cautious in front of a woman who was welding a large pot.

There are times when I believe this Bible verse is a warning against toiling--some sort of Biblical statement on the danger of being busy and perhaps a reminder to not try too hard and to simply spend our days sitting in prayer.

But that is completely unreasonable. After all, we need somewhere to sit. And we, human beings, are tricky sorts. We have minds that wander. We sometimes need tools to draw us closer to Christ's feet. We sometimes need to stick one thousand cloves in an orange to help us sit still and focus.


Christ does not rebuke Martha the moment he enters the home--he only rebukes Martha when it is apparent that she is aggravated--and when it becomes apparent that all her doing is distracting her from listening.


There are those voices in my head who tell me what a shame it is not post an amazing blog about the amazing Advent crafts. There are those voices who scold me for missing an opportunity to gain readers and Pinterest followers.

But those voices are my own. I need to listen to the one voice that matters. It is time to simply choose the one thing that is needed.

It is not time to toil more and craft more and encourage more martha-ing amongst my (tiny) readership.  It is time for one thing:

To say thank you.

Thank you to all the amazing Marthas who toiled along with me for hours and hours;  often times, so I could sit like Mary.  Thank you to the amazing volunteers who sacrificed time with their young families to spend an evening running a craft station. Thank you to the fantastic teenagers who served soup. Thank you to the man who always prepares gallons of homemade soup for everyone to enjoy.  Thank you to our amazing Director of Christian Education, who dove right in and learned everything there is to know about Glue Dots.

Thank you to the Marys who  sat quietly and actually sang those Christmas hymns, so I could I be rebuked and reminded that the only thing that is ever needed--the only thing I have to do is to sit at his feet and say, Thank you.

PS I am moderately obsessed with Mary and Martha. If you are too, take a gander at my other posts:

The Better Part
Sitting
She did what she could 





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