Mary’s Choice

Photo by Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash
Jesus seems to always build retreats into His life and ministry. Most of them involve secluded, lonely settings away from people.

Yet, there is one place that seems to be ‘home’ among people – Bethany, at the home of Martha, Lazarus and Mary. It was His place of rest among people. Where is that place for you?

Luke 10
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha steals the show. At least at first glance. It’s like meeting Nigella and Kirsty, embodied in one person. Creative, warm, loud. Her food was famous and her hospitality made guests feel treasured and other women envious. She takes the initiative. She invites Jesus in. Her love language is action. Her delight is serving others. She is wired and animated…

Mary just sits down. Her passivity a stark contrast to Martha’s activity. She stops from her activity. She is quiet and simply listens to Jesus’ teaching.

Lazarus, we don’t know anything about him. Guys can be like that. Hiding away. Being distracted. Getting stuff done. Guys always get stuff done. Not wanting to be in the limelight, you know…

The scene looks calm initially but it doesn’t take long before the unhealthy attitudes come to the surface. When we don’t relate well to Jesus – we end up taking it out on people around us. Martha’s complaint seems justified. Yet Jesus surprisingly sides with Mary.

Martha doesn’t get the reaction she expected. Jesus speaks to her gently and redemptively. He doesn’t demean her instinctive desire to serve. He simply invites her to move from good to best! What was Mary’s secret, I wonder? Why did she do what she did? Was it just a personality trait?

Mary did not need to do anything FOR Jesus. No impressive mind boggling questions or extravagant displays of hospitality. She recognised that it’s much better to let Jesus do something for her. She was unashamed in her need for His wisdom. She was ‘poor in the spirit’ and humbly accepted her state – without insecure feelings demanding a performance that impresses Jesus.

Mary seized an opportunity. She knew that THIS was so unique. She knew WHO was before her. This was not to be missed. In the presence of divine royalty,  you drop everything, as at that moment, nothing else matters…

Mary was filled with awe. She was so amazed at what Jesus did and taught that simply being around Him was enough.

Mary was expectantly curious for more of His teaching. She knew what she already heard and like a mesmerised child waiting to hear another amazing bedtime story from a parent or grandparent, she was so eager to discover more from Him.

Here is the beckoning call to Jesus, right here and right now. He is the omnipresent Christ in you, the hope of glory. The Potentate of time and history – ready to welcome you at His feet.

come just as you are
come and be still
come quickly
come curiously
come to seek His face, not just His hand
come before the Christmas rush



The Times They Are A-Changin’

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

2016 will remain ingrained in the history books as a turn-around year, full of unexpected and surprising political outcomes. The future will have the right to judge what the consequences of those changes will be for ordinary people in the UK and US as well as the global impact that awaits us.

More than ever I became aware of my sense of alienation from the political offerings available. I felt deep down that although I resonate with many causes – there is no political movement that fully can embrace Christ’s Kingdom agenda.

The secret? As Christ-followers we are are transcending the traditional dividing lines into another, deeper reality. The Dominican father, Herbert McCabe captures it perfectly:
“The Christian minister is meant to be neither the pillar of an established quasi-feudal order, as conservative Christians are inclined to think, nor is he the democratic representative of a quasi-bourgeois society as the progressives seem to suggest; he is a revolutionary leader whose job is the subversion of the world through the preaching of the gospel. He exercises authority amongst his people not as maintaining an established structure; he is the leader of his people in a movement towards a new community.

Matthew 5:13-16 The Message (MSG)
13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

O, Lord, keep us from becoming distracted by pointless arguments and drinking further from the poisoned well of hatred and division. Keep our hearts tuned into a different voice and our eyes filled with the clarity that the tears of compassion can bring. Make us Your courageous but humble agents of love, hope and reconciliation.