2016-07-17 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

2016-07-17 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

2016-07-17 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton

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We Are Marthy
Luke 10:38-42
July 17, 2016

Imagine this note in the classified ads/kijiji:

“Inconveniencing Saviour, seeks Wasteful Worshippers”

Would you respond?

If you were with us last week, we were finding our way through the good Samaritan story and we were encouraging each other to…in the end…receive love…but also do love.

And we tried to prepare ourselves for a week of being inconvenienced and interrupted by the “other”… or maybe even allowing the “other” (our most notorious enemy) to help us.

** Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase: Jesus disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed?

Q: How is your life with Jesus going in these days? Are you getting disturbed and inconvenienced? Or in your discomfort, are you receiving comfort from unlikely places?

And what is our response to this inconveniencing, interrupting Saviour of ours?

This week’s Jesus’ story tells us more… Jesus continuing in the last weeks of his ministry life…3 years of wonders, miracles, mysteries…and he makes one last stop at his friends…in the town of Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, probably 4 km from the Holy City.

He didn’t necessarily call ahead, and Mary and Martha probably didn’t expect him to have a posse of 22 people along with him…


They bring their sweaty, dusty, stinky bodies into the crowded house and lo, and behold, it’s getting close to supper time!

“Jesus, would you and your disciples care for something to eat?” Martha asks…with pursed lips…trying to keep a smile on her face but dreading the answer….

“Yes, but first let’s…”

His words trail off as Martha darts from the front room into the back area of the house and begins to clatter about as she calculates about how she might make last night’s stew stretch out into a meal for 20…

Martha’s younger sister, Mary, does not follow Martha into the cooking area. She’s caught a glimpse of something different, perhaps a more sullen & somber look in Jesus’ eyes and gets a feeling in her gut that she needs to stay in the front room with the rest of the disciples.

Jesus begins to talk…themes that have become familiar terrain to this crew of Jesus’ roadies…
–When you are rejected, turn the other cheek…
— As you seek after the Kingdom of God, it’s not a matter of a building, it’s a matter of the heart…seek after God’s heart…look up…look ahead, don’t look behind you…keep your hand to the plough and cultivate good soil…
–As you go, know you are sent in simplicity & peace…pronounce peace upon all the places you enter…
–Remember to care for the other…though it interrupts your life and costs you…know that as you have done it unto the least and the lost, you have done it for me…and to me!
–And DO NOT WORRY about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear…For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing….can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
–One does not live by bread alone…DO NOT BE AFRAID, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the…

>>> Lord! Jesus! Lord!

Martha, red faced and sweating from the hot pot in the back room pushes her way to the front room…

“Lord, do you not care? Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?…. Tell her…Tell Mary to help me!”

[an awkward…holy? silence falls upon the houseguests]

Even Peter holds his tongue and doesn’t blurt out one of his classic one-liners.

Jesus looks at Martha and loves her…and he says,
“Martha, Martha…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.”

KJV: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

NLT: “Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!”

MESSAGe: “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

> The better part, that good part…there is really only one thing! It’s the main course! This is the stuff that moth or rust do not destroy! This “better part” lasts forever!

As we dwell in the world of today’s story, perhaps you find yourself leaning one way or another…you’re wired more like Martha? Or a bit more like the younger child Mary?

But…as today’s sermon title suggests…I’d like to think we are somewhere in between.

We Are Marthy. We Are Mar-ee-tha.

Jesus is not telling Martha to stop serving…to stop preparing the meal…to stop being hospitable…he knows it takes work and I would imagine he knows it’s inconvenient…for the personal day planner and also the purse/pocketbook! He’s just told the story of the good Samaritan so he knows that caring for the other “costs”…

But the good news of today’s story is that serving, loving and creating hospitable places for Jesus and his sweaty, stinky, sometimes daft disciples [some who quite possibly are sitting right next to you today!] is not a matter of keeping a firm upper lip and trying harder…

As you can see, Jesus invited Martha to a better way.

And it’s a way that marks our journey through the whole story of God…this following of God’s heart and God’s ways are not to be done alone…and not to be done in our own strength…not to be done out of first-born-child’s duty-to ever prove ourselves responsible and good….but out of a place of worship and love…

And God…through Jesus…and the Spirit, is ever beckoning us to
worship and adore…to love and BE loved…

In the garden of Eden it was the invitation to walk with YHWH among the trees of the garden;
For the prophets it was calling us to not render our possessions/religious rituals …but to render our hearts unto God;
And for 1st century followers of Jesus it was an invitation to sit..and listen…

The Psalmist prayed it this way…and perhaps this prayer was going through Mary’s heart & mind even as she sat with Jesus that day… (Ps. 27)

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him …

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

If you’ve been here at FBC over the past few years, you hear us talk about this journey of faith and salvation as a JI-JO…Journey Inward and Journey Outward.
We try to be intentional about the reality that this life of serving Jesus (doing love!) needs to be grounded, empowered and sustained by a life of worship and spiritual practices (journey inward)…so from week to week we offer this place and the way we worship as an invitation to gather, be drawn together and upward as we worship the living God, and to allow God’s presence, and Holy Spirit to meet us, to descend upon us and to fill us…so that week after week, we might then have the life of Jesus being formed in us and then poured out into the world…through us…

>> So, as we close our time in today’s story…
Let’s take 2 minutes to continue to quietly choose the “better part”…the “good part”… the “main course”…

What might that be for us today?
–it’s centered on Jesus…perhaps a word, an image, a verse of scripture [we have just 5 verses today!], song/hymn
–maybe even conjuring that up might feel too much like work…maybe you just need to sit in silence, with palms up, receiving from Jesus heart and Spirit, whatever God needs to give you today…
→ We’ll have 2 minutes of silence…and then we’ll pray together the prayer from Psalm 27

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, 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.”

A Prayer from Psalm 27
One thing we ask from the Lord,
this is what we seek:
that we may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of our lives,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord…
to seek him…

We remain confident of this:
We will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.