July 17th’s Scripture from Luke on Mary and Martha has stuck with me in the past couple of days. It is interesting how often the women in this story are reduced down to just one quality of their personality – Mary, the one who sits and listens, Martha, the one who works her fingers to the bone. There must have been so much more to both of them, because there is so much more to all of us. We contain multitudes. Sometimes it takes someone looking at us as Christ does for the world to see how much more there is to our story.
Rev. Steve Garnaas-Holmes seems to have been on the same wavelength this week. In a recent post on his poetry blog, Unfolding Light, he wrote the following reflection:
Mary sat at the Beloved’s feet
and listened to what he was saying.
— Luke 10.39
We drove through cities and towns,
little burgs and urban stacks of buildings,
suburban developments like giant microchips,
past apartment windows and farmhouses,
cozy neighborhoods and lonely hovels.
Each house a story. So many stories.
None are evident by appearances: the neat estate
may hide a story of abuse and loneliness;
the sagging single-wide a story of redemption.
The people we saw—the people you pass by—
every single one is a story with a beginning and a middle,
and you only know one sentence of it.
The nuanced setting, the alarming backstory,
the various characters and their own story lines,
the intertwining of so many subplots, these you do not know.
And the end? And how it all fits together,
and what the story is really “about?” Ah, wait.
But meanwhile what a privilege it is
to be welcomed into one home,
one story, even to just look around.
What a gift to know someone who is willing to hear
your whole story. And what a gift we have
to sometimes stop and listen.
I hope as we move through our days toward Summer’s end, we find time to look around, time to listen, and time to know a little more of one another’s story.
PS. If you get a chance in the next few weeks, head over to www.presbyterianyouthtriennium.org to experience the virtual conference put together for this summer with help from myself and the rest of the 2022 PYT Production Team. Our in-person gathering was put on hold because of Covid, but presbyteries all across the country will use these worship resources to take the Triennium Spirit far and wide this summer. Videos and resources will be live on Sunday, July 24th.
If you’ve never heard of Triennium or haven’t had a chance to experience it first-hand, check our 2019 highlight video and maybe we’ll be heading to Triennium together in 2025!