|Pen and Ink Reflections||
This is a well known but in some ways seriously annoying story, and I blame Luke – to say nothing of centuries of largely male, monastic interpretation - which can basically be summarised as ‘Hurrah Mary’ and ‘Boo Martha’. Or more aggressively as ‘stop complaining and pray harder’! Anyone out there feel like they’d like to muster at least a small cheer for Martha? Hurrah! This is a story that has been used as a means of social control in church and state, and a means of silencing the voices of women. For the very way this story is constructed, tends to make us choose sides. So, whether we are sympathising with Martha and feeling she’s a bit hard done by, or cheering Mary for breaking the gender stereotype, it is hard to remain neutral. The story itself sets up the two supposed sisters in opposition to one another...
on not marrying the spirit of any age
Have you ever noticed how much conflict there is the Bible? I don’t mean so much those horrible stories of war and sanctified violence. I mean conflict between people of faith over issues of understanding God and how to live in this world. Take the writings of St Luke for instance, not least the Acts of the Apostles. If we think we have some lively debates today - over such issues as the valuing of lesbian, gay and gender variant people - that is actually quite in line with the conflicts in the early Church which Luke writes about. It seems that, spiritually speaking, Christians have always had differences about how to relate the eternal truth of Christ to time-bound cultural issues of philosophy and morality. Luke however assures that this is not something to worry about but rather it is an opportunity to be grasped...
sermons and reflections from Penny Jones & Josephine Inkpin, a married Anglican clergy couple serving with the Uniting Church in Sydney