Daily Devotion 02 June 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Luke 10:38-42 ‘Take Time to be Holy’ (Contemporary English Version)

38 The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. 40 Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” 41 The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, 42 but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha is one of my favourite characters in the Bible. She is so honest about her feelings and speaks them out to Jesus in person. You can imagine the scene: Jesus and his followers all turning up and needing to be fed – but when she looks for her sister to help, Mary is sitting listening to Jesus as he teaches his followers, oblivious of the practical implications of so many visitors. Martha could have sat too, but practical concerns were uppermost in her mind rather than seizing the opportunity to listen to Jesus. But Martha too was a disciple, a believer in Jesus as she said to him in John 11:27 “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God. You are the one we hoped would come into the world.” So this hard pressed disciple tells Jesus to get her sister to help, but Jesus says, “No, let her listen to me.” He does not say you should too – but Martha realised this implied rebuke and accepts it. Though the last time she is mentioned by name she is again serving a meal!

For many of us we find it easier to be doing rather than being still, but lockdown has given us the opportunity to slow down and perhaps give more time to our quiet time with Jesus. As life begins to return to normal let us try to be more like Mary and not return to our Martha-like ways. The lovely old hymn by William Dunn Longstaff (1822–94) could have been written for Martha, and for all of us the words of the hymn could become not only a prayer but also our pattern for living.

Dear Lord, as life seems to be becoming busier, help us to continue
to spend time in your presence listening and learning from you. Amen.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with Thy Lord;
abide in him always, and feed on his word.
Make friends with God’s children, help those who are weak;
forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
spend much time in secret wit Jesus alone –
by looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be!
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide;
and run not before Him, whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord,
and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
each thought and each temper beneath His control;
thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
thou soon shall be fitted for service above.

Reflection © 2021 Gillian Wood.
Images freely available online.
Hymn words no longer in copyright.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356