This morning we are talking about “Dealing with Difficulty.” This is one of those Sundays when all the lessons raise this question or attempt an answer.
We begin with the oracle of the prophet Habakkuk. After looking full upon the disaster that was to come upon his nation and its people the prophet cried out saying:
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
It is tempting to put ourselves in one place and Habakkuk and his troubles in another. For some, this will work, for a time; but as Saul’s Bellow reminds us, “You don’t know what is coming if you think you can get (through life) with laughing and eating peach pie.” Continue reading
Two Things Everybody Wants
Everybody here wants two things: Health and Happiness. We want other things—but without these two things, the other things hardly matter. Today we are going to talk about health and a long life which go hand in hand. On another Sunday we will talk about happiness. For health and happiness also go hand in hand. Continue reading
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The texts before us this morning all deal with the problems and possibilities of wealth. Because these texts concern us all, in applying them, I have sometimes changed the pronouns in the texts from the third person “they” and “them” to the first person “I” “we” and “us” and to the second person, “You,” both singular and plural. Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
I love the Scripture for a variety of reasons. I love it because it points us to Jesus Christ, and to the God that the New Testament calls “the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” What does the hymnist say?
Beyond the sacred page; I seek thee Lord.
My Spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
I love the scripture, too, because it perfectly captures our human predicament. It lays bare the thoughts and actions of our ancestors, 100 generations removed, and as it does it penetrates deep into our own hearts and minds and shows us that we are not really so different than them.
This morning our gospel lesson looks at two sisters, Martha and Mary, who once entertained Jesus and (we can assume) his disciples and uses them to show us how we might respond in a similar situation. When we read the text from St. Luke, with whom did you identify? Are you a Martha, or a Mary? I put that question to men and women alike, because two bachelor brothers, in the same situation, may not have acted so differently. Continue reading