Thirty Days of Love – Day 16
In the gospel story of Mary and Martha, Jesus admonishes the ever-working, ever-busy Martha after she complains that Mary isn’t doing anything other than listening to him. Jesus responds to Martha saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 11:41-42).”
I get this…and I generally agree with Jesus (if I am to assume a certain context).
Yet, I’d like to know WHY Mary has the “better part”? Is it simply because the teachings are important than the busy-work? Probably. But WHY are the teachings more important? To what end? Once the teachings are learned, will they compel Mary to do anything (internally or externally)? We don’t get any additional context in the story.
Paul’s letter to the Romans states, “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28)”
It seems that many have used such references as evidence that they don’t have to do anything (again, internally or externally). I doubt that this was Jesus’ intent but such references seem to provide an easy out for many believers.
More on this tomorrow.
Thirty Days of Love – Day 17
Catholic monk Thomas Merton was born on this day in 1915. He writes,
“Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because He cannot be at home in it, because He is out of place in it, and yet He must be in it, His place is with those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated….He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst (“The Pocket Thomas Merton,” p167).”
The Beatitudes in Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 confirm Thomas Merton’s take on this (e.g. “Blessed are the poor…those who mourn…those who hunger, etc.).
If Jesus came “uninvited” to minister to, or be the Messiah for, “those who do not belong, who are rejected…,denied status, etc.”, did he come for everyone else?
If he did also come for everyone else, how can those who aren’t “the poor…those who mourn…those who hunger, etc” in good conscience feel that they can be justified by faith alone? Doesn’t the presence of those less fortunate compel them to do something about a principal reason for Jesus’ coming?
Thirty Days of Love – Day 18
I suppose everyone has heard by now about the man who was recently rescued from a deserted island in the South Pacific after having been stranded there alone for over ten years. Amazing!!! As the rescue ship was pulling away, the rescuers asked the man what the three huts were on the island. The man pointed to each hut in succession and said, “That first one’s my house….the second one’s my church….and that third one’s the church I used to go to.” – Anonymous
Arguing whether or not God exists is like fleas arguing whether or not the dog exists. Arguing over the correct name of God is like fleas arguing over the name of the dog. And arguing over whose notion of God is correct is like fleas arguing over who owns the dog. – Robert Fulghum
When we talk to God, it’s called prayer. When God talks to us, it’s called hallucination. – Anonymous
Every day people are straying away from the Church and going back to God. – Lenny Bruce
We have made god in our own image and it turns out that our god hates the same people we do. – Anne Lamott
Unitarian Universalists are free to believe whatever we want to, and most of us don’t – Christine Robinson
I’ve been hiding from God, and I’m appalled to find out how easy it is. – Mignon McLaughlin
The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. – George Burns
I fear one day I’ll meet God, he’ll sneeze, and I won’t know what to say. – Ronnie Shakes