Service: The Feast of St. Martha ~ The Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

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Today we come together to commemorate the life of St Martha.

We should all have knowledge about the story of Martha and Mary who welcomed Jesus into their home. Martha busies herself with the hospitality needs of our Lord Jesus whilst Mary sits at the feet of Jesus listening to his words. Martha complains to Jesus because she wanted Mary’s help but Jesus replies to 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.” (Lk 10:38-42)

Jesus’ reply was all about listening to his message. We can then see in ourselves and in our lives, what Jesus points out in Martha – is that we can be easily distracted and worried by worldly tasks and Through Martha’s story, Jesus is reminding us that there is one thing that is of importance: that is to follow Jesus’ message and his individual calling that he has for each of us.

In John 11:17-27, Martha meets Jesus as soon as she learns he is coming after hearing that her brother Lazarus had died. Immediately we see a change in Martha. She purposefully goes to Jesus and when he asks her about his belief in him she responds, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Martha has the opportunity to serve Jesus again.

Six days after the Passover (John 12:1-8). She does so with quiet humility. We come to understand Martha’s role is a different calling than that of Mary and this is much like it is in our own lives. we are each called into different service for the Lord’s glory, we each are blessed with different skills and talents with which to serve him. Martha chose to serve with love instead of with bitterness and arrogance.

Martha’s story gives us hope and is a good example for our own lives.  Even though we can fall into the trap of trying to complete tasks without God’s assistance, there is opportunity in the Grace of the Lord to retry. When Jesus speaks to Martha, he is not unkind. His response is one of love.  As the sinners we each are, we can only strive to learn and grow from our mistakes to make the next opportunity filled with Christ.

Martha is known as the patron saint of cooks, homemakers, and servants, St. Martha reminds us to thank all in our lives who serve us in whatever way. This can be our parents or those who cook for us, those who work in public service, our friends, our church clergy or even indeed anyone at all.  As a way to celebrate St. Martha’s feast day today, we can pray to serve Jesus better:

Saint Martha, pray for us that we might serve Jesus better. Help us to overcome any distractions and worries that we may face in this world and to listen to his words and be present to him in our daily lives. May we remember that although we are called and blessed in different ways, that we are still all members of the same one body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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