My theme for this half term in our Pre-Prep assemblies is Homes; an appreciation of our own homes and any stories involving houses and homes. Predictably, I began with ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and yesterday told the biblical story of Mary and Martha. In this story the two sisters are entertaining Jesus. Martha rushes around cleaning, tidying, cooking and preparing the house. Throughout the visit she is very busy serving food and drinks, then clearing away and washing up. Martha becomes increasingly frustrated and more and more irritated by her sister who spends her time sitting, chatting and enjoying her time with Jesus. When Martha confronts her sister, Jesus advises that Mary has taken the correct approach and Martha should have spent her time talking with him too.
I have always found this a very difficult story to understand and I sympathise and identify with the hardworking Martha. I know how much work is involved in running a home and in entertaining visitors. However, I can now see beyond the obvious and realise that the meaning of this incident is an instruction to ensure we focus on and prioritise what really matters. That when an opportunity presents itself to us, we take the time to make the most of it and appreciate and live in the moment. Superficial concerns, if we are not careful, can distract us from spending meaningful time with our friends and family. Looking at this story with fresh eyes I am reassured that a Bible story from 2000 years ago still has such resonance with our 21st century ideas of relaxation and mindfulness. This weekend, I will ditch the dusting, so to speak, and focus on friends and family. I invite you to do the same.