Being Present in the Lord

Being Present in the Lord

As we move into another autumn season, things are already getting busy at Mercy Home! Right now, our kids are full of excitement as they prepare for another school year. It’s hard for me not to share in their joy, knowing how much promise this time of year holds. September is a month of opportunities…but also busyness.

During this time of year, I often think of the story of Martha. Jesus had a special relationship with Martha, as well as her siblings Mary and Lazarus. He was a frequent guest in Martha’s home in Bethany, a small village outside Jerusalem. We hear about these visits in both the
gospel of John and Luke.

It is easy to identify with Martha in the story Luke tells us. She welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her home and immediately does all she can to meet their every need. It was probably quite frustrating to her that Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet to listen to him with all her attention, rather than helping Martha.

Martha asks Jesus to pass judgment on Mary, but Jesus provides a surprising answer: “Martha, Martha. 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.”

Perhaps you can relate to Martha—I certainly can! It is easy to let day-to-day worries
and distractions keep us from being present to the Lord.

When Martha appears again in John’s gospel, we see a changed woman. She is in mourning over the death of Lazarus and has a house full of others grieving as well. But when she hears that Jesus is in the area, she immediately leaves her guests to meet him. In her conversation with him, we see her true faith and courage. She states that she believes in the resurrection and that Jesus is the Son of God. In turn, Jesus raises her brother from the dead.

Our final image of Martha shows her coming full circle. Jesus returned to Bethany some time later to share a meal with his good friends. In this story, the only mention we hear of her is simply “Martha served.” She isn’t in the spotlight doing showy things or receiving miracles. She is simply serving Jesus. And in this, she is extraordinary.

As we begin another busy season and school year, there is no better time to remember the story of Martha. Truly, there is no more important thing to be done than taking time to be fully present with the Lord. I pray that this is something you will be able to put
into practice this fall and beyond.

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