For the next two years, we have invited special guest writers to contribute our Weekly Prayers. This month, we welcome former MWiB President Anne Browse. Anne writes:
As I wondered where to focus these reflections for the month of July, I found myself returning to a selection of Bible passages which have been or have become important to me. My appreciation and love of the Bible has developed over the years and I read it in different ways at different times. I invite you to ponder these words of Scripture and to ask God to speak to you as you reflect on them, for yourself and for the communities which are close to your heart.
Luke 10: 38–42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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.”
Over the years this story has alternately frustrated me and encouraged me. I wonder how many sermons you have heard preached on it? These days it could well be used as an illustration of the importance of being as well as doing. Or perhaps of being instead of doing. And especially of the importance of being in relationship with God in Christ.
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us much about being and doing. Many of us have been effectively locked down and severely limited in what we could do, and had to learn to simply ‘be’. Others have been in roles which pushed them to their limits and beyond, as key workers on the ‘frontline’. Time to simply ‘be’, alone or with their families was sometimes non-existent.
This story is of two women who responded in different ways to doing and being, and in particular to the opportunity to develop relationship with Jesus. It seems that one of them, Mary, chose the better way.
If you have time, read the story three times, imagining yourself in the place of Martha, then Mary, then Jesus. How does each reading leave you feeling?
Jesus, we thank you for the records we have in the gospels of your life and your teaching.
We pray that you will help us to become the people we are truly intended to be,
made in the image of God, and bearing more of your likeness as we spend time with you.
We pray this in the power of your Holy Spirit.
Prayers for July written by Anne Browse, MWiB President 2015–2017
Image: preparations for lunch; photo by Anne Browse
Download the Weekly Prayers for July here: