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Luke 10.38-end

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying, but Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’  The Lord answered her, ‘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.

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Last week I visited  one of my favourite places in the Snowdonia National Park. Llynn Idwal, is a small, raised lake at the end of the Ogwen Valley and is flanked  by tall rocks to the West and the South, mountains to the East, and a long, open valley that leads out towards Anglesey. I did not have much time to go there, and it was a huge drive, but when the lake is still (as it was), it is so clear that you can see the rocks and pebbles beneath the surface.


It was suggested to me that going on such a long journey for such a short time was a waste of time and money. I fully understand this, and certainly it makes sense to me that the long drive both ways was more likely to tire me out, but there was that stillness, when I sat in front of the lake in the evening. Before dusk, the walkers by the lake mostly disappeared.  At the end of a shingle beach, a couple sat with their child and two free swimmers stripped off for a cool swim in the water. There was no breeze, and no sounds of traffic. My phone had no mobile signal so the world around me was silenced with wisps of Cirrus clouds floating over head. Perfect conditions for my camera (Photography is my thing!), and right for the voice of God to be as transparent as the still lake. 


Sometimes people forget that my role and function is related to spirituality, but I find constant demands relating to meetings relating to the structural elements of the church. The focus required to find God’s will and God’s word for those relentless public and intimate times when that is precisely what is required of myself as a minister, and others in their own ministries, is often buried beneath the rubble of our own organisational constructs, our systems, and our mechanisms; our Tower of Babel.


We call to mind Simon Peter’s refusal to allow Christ to wash his feet. I suspect his objection was more to do with arrogance than humility. We remember Jesus’ parable of the growing seed, in which the farmer, after sowing the seed, must return to his house and trust in the forces of nature to make the crop grow. We remember, also, Christ sleeping in the back of the boat, trusting in the hand of his Father, while the disciples toil and struggle around him, to prevent the boat from sinking in the storm. Finally we recall our Gospel reading. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus rose from the dead, are entertaining the Lord of Life in their home. Martha is running around like a headless chicken, trying to prepare the house for Jesus, while Mary alone recognises that the son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


Whatever you are doing to build the Kingdom of God, whatever you are constructing, whatever you are manufacturing, it is good to remember that it is not your will that needs to be done, but his, It is not your activity that will transform the world, but rather the work of Christ on the cross, it is not your words that provide the song of the new creation, but rather his. If you do not let him wash your feet, then you can have no part of him (John 13:8). You must be prepared to let go and let God, to take the space to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen.

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