July 29, 2008

Martha and Homemaking Beyond Maintenance

Today is the calendar day to remember Martha. Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus were good friends of Jesus.

One of my workshop titles is "Homemaking Beyond Maintenance". If you look for it on Amazon it will tell you it's a book not yet in print - so my title and me as the author is there ... waiting ... I've been meaning to write that workshop up into a book. People have requested it over the years.

I mention Mary and Martha. We've all heard countless time about Mary making the 'better choice' in sitting at Jesus' feet. Martha is often denigrated. Housekeeping for several decades became denigrated (though Martha Stewart helped turn some of that around).

I've sat with that scripture often. First I noticed, in conjunction with other scriptures, that Jesus often returned to this home in Bethany. Martha always welcomed Jesus into their house and made him feel at home. Martha practiced hospitality well.

Then, it seems Jesus is reprimanding Martha after her requesting that Mary leave listening to Him at His feet and help her in the meal preparations. But in looking closer I saw that Jesus' only complaint was that Martha was 'so distracted and worried by many things'. He didn't mean for Martha to stop preparing the meal - instead, He meant for her to open the eyes and the ears of her heart to be present to Him in what she was doing.

I used to have a book that had some subtitle like "More of Martha to be More of Mary" (that's not it, but like it) - the point being, that maybe if we plan well in our home keeping, we'd be able to also just sit at Jesus' feet. I've taken the time as a Domestic Engineer to research the tools of my trade and how to wield them skillfully.

Martha was engaging in her tasks in a self-preoccupied state that took her awareness away from Jesus' presence. We need to go about our tasks in a state of God-consciousness. Home Keeping can be a labor of love as I use my head, hands and heart in creating a home, moving beyond mundane maintenance into the realm of creativity. In all that I do, am I reflecting the Image of God?

As Mary Englebret says, "Like whatever you do".
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