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The Feast of St Martha

martha.jpgEvidently today is the feast of St Martha of Bethany... to my warped brain it seems a slightly strange idea that she would have a feast day especially given the bad press the church has generally given her throughout history.  But actually, I find myself rather pleased that she does get a feast day, a day to be feted and celebrated for who she was.

Those of you who have read this stuff for a while will know that I get very uppity about portrayals of Martha that are based on a poor synthesis of the Luke 10 and John 12 stories... OK so Martha was distracted but it doesn't say she was cooking dinner at the time.  And I also stress (ad nauseam) that in John 11 (the raising of Lazarus) it is Martha who names Jesus as Messiah.  I have blogged various explorations and reflections on this trio of stories, which I won't repeat here.  Suffice it to say, I am something of a Martha fan.

Without the 'Marthas' (and her 'sons') our churches would be in dire trouble... we depend so heavily on those who bake and make tea and polish brass and arrange flowers and move chairs and sweep steps and empty bins and, and, and... I get rather huffy with people who perceive themselves as too spiritual to muck in with the practical tasks, especially on a Sunday.  But actually, I like the idea of a feast day for Martha and her descendants, a day when they can sit down, enjoy a bit of TLC and be celebrated for who they are and what they bring.

Martha, sit down a moment...

No, not on that hard, kitchen chair, here in the soft welcome of the settee.

Martha, take a moment for yourself...

Put down the tea-towel, the duster, the broom; pick up a book or gaze through the window

Martha, have a little refreshment...

No, not the healthy apple or the plain biscuit, choose the sumptuous richness of Belgian chocolate or cream-filled gateau

Martha, take a moment to indulge...

Lay aside the list of jobs to be done, people to be helped; daydream, reflect, meditate, be

Martha this is your moment, your day...

No, not a recollection of your distractedness, but a celebration of your authenticity

Martha, homemaker, theologian*, sister, disciple...

We pause for a moment to see yourself in us, and to accept ourselves as we are, image bearers of the God of Jesus Christ, unique, loved, welcomed.


* Check John 11 for the theological discussion she had with Jesus at her brother's grave-side!

Picture of Martha borrowed from here

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