Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God Will Give You

On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel all that had been commanded. Then the children of Israel would see that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant; so he would again put the veil over his face until he went in to converse with the LORD.  Exodus 34:34B-35
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” John 11:20-21
Rule of Saint Benedict (Chapter 48. The Daily Manual Labor 10 – 13)
From the first of October to the beginning of Lent, the brothers ought to devote themselves to reading until the end of the second hour. At this time Terce is said and they are to work at their assigned tasks until None. At the first signal for the hour of None, all put aside their work to be ready for the second signal. Then after their meal they will devote themselves to their reading or to the psalms.
If you ask most Christians, they probably remember the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to see them.  That is the story where Martha busied herself with hospitality while Mary, the contemplative, “has chosen the better part.” However, the primary story today is the other major appearance of Martha and Mary. 
Despite the busy-ness that concerned Martha, we see the level of her faith in the resurrection and the life.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him.  Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, she was SO EAGER for the encounter, despite being in grief over the death of her brother, she left the house and ran to meet Jesus.
After a death in a Jewish family, relatives observe a stage called shiva, a week-long period of grief and mourning. During this period, mourners traditionally gather in one home and receive visitors.  They do not run outside and greet people who are coming to see them in their grief.  Once outside with the Lord, we then encounter the faith of Martha that is at least as deep, if not deeper, than that of her sister. Maybe what we see in this story is Martha choosing the better part this time.
Mary and Martha teach us two sides of a life rooted in faith and hope.  The best part may be when we can get both halves to come together into a holistic life of faith.
The combination of what happens to Martha and Moses in today’s readings send an important message to us.  When they encounter the Lord, the changes that they experience are striking.  They change physically AND spiritually.  Martha and Moses reveal the fruits of not just the encounter with the Lord but also what happens when you actually listen and act upon what that encounter reveals.  That growth in listening to God and the people of God and being an important intermediary facilitates conversations between God and people – and conversions between God and people.  
Martha (and Mary) and Moses (and Benedict) help us to focus our spirituality on how we use our time each day. There is a time for working and a time for praying.  There is a time for encountering the Lord and a time for bringing that message to the people in our community.  We can focus on having a healthy and supportive relationship in community like the family of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. 
How will you use your time today?  How will you break it up into the proper roles and duties at the proper time?

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