N.B. There has been an email glitch (hopefully resolved) and a lack of clarity in the 4th from last paragraph which has now been amended. In expectation of normal service being resumed next week…
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary – Luke 10: 38 – 42, NRSV
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.” But 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.”
Loving and leading deity,
I am speaking to you today especially as one of your daughters, as one of many women called to your service in ordained ministry and called as well to many of the tasks of family and community life. I am speaking also as an American, educated woman, often enough like Mary of a certain village distracted by many tasks. So I pray for myself and everyone for clarity and calm.
Let us pray for travelers returning to the United States of America who have experienced sudden detention, and let us pray for those who, by personal acts of kindness or by use of legal training, are attempting to ameliorate their suffering.
Let us pray for girls who are victims of sex trafficking and for agencies and individuals like Prajwala in Hyerdabad, India, an NGO dedicated to rescuing people from forced prostitution; like Butterfly Home in Nepal where incarcerated mothers can know their children have a chance for education and opportunity; and others like US military veterans who share their memories and medals with some of the excluded at airports.
Let us pray for mothers in Peru, distracted by poverty, crop failures, and inadequate healthcare, as we pray for programs that subsidize particiption in schools and sanitation.
Indeed, loving God, we pray for serenity for all your children threatened by overwhelming distractions.
Let us pray for men who learn from the model of Jesus to meet our Martha moments, when our desire is only to have a higher authority order what we want. May all of us who ask Jesus to solve our problems according to our wishes, follow his example in calling for a wider and more generous and more focused vision of what we should do. May those of us who need help search for the one thing that matters most. May those who are asked for advice – or who simply feel they have useful advice to give – act as did Jesus to help others remember the better part. May we all remember Jesus’s warning that the better part will not be taken away.
Let us pray for governments in all the world that they make responsible choices in filling serious positions. There are many frightened people in the world. They are distracted by their fears of terrorism or differences in ethnicity or faith. There are also many people offering or clinging to certainties that seem unlikely to stand the test of time. There are communities like Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA and the countries of Scandinavia that have been open at extraordinary levels to refugees. There are communities, and many individuals, who want to close borders and deny services.
Let us pray for those who are sharing the refugee experiences and memories of their own families. Because the few who have prospered are surrounded by so many who have been lost, it is a painful sharing often. Our hearts are opened by this gift. We have recently had a day of remembrance for the Holocaust. We are watching the experience of the Lakota and Dakota people in the USA as their water supplies and environment are under threat from the controversial oil-pipeline plans. We know and continue to pray for all affected throughout the world where the availability of safe drinking water has come under ever increasing challenge and threat.
I end this prayer with the hope that you will guide us all; that we may have the courage we need when we need to speak; the modesty to listen when we need to listen; and always have the compassion we need to protect and cherish all of your children. Amen