The Holy Gospel: July 21, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 10:38-42

Meditation:  Don’t Anticipate!

When I went on my Walk to Emmaus, one of the mantras was, “don’t anticipate.”  From then until now, I realize how often this has been my problem.  I think it may have been Martha’s too.

She assumed that Jesus’ visit meant she was supposed to swing into action and get something cooking.  But Jesus never said that, and the text does not indicate she was required to do such a thing.  Mary does not seem to have made that assumption.

I am not pretending to exegete today’s lesson, but only to share how a particular reading of it changed my experience with this familiar passage….

What if Jesus was planning on taking them out to eat after having a good conversation with his two friends?  If so, then Martha’s assumption not only changed the Lord’s plans, it also created the distractedness that Jesus pointed out.

Ever since I considered this possibility, I have wondered how many times my “anticipations” have inaccurately interpreted Jesus’ intentions—and, what I might have missed by thinking I really knew what was going on before I actually did.

Viewing the text from this vantage point, I see how Mary really did choose “the better part”—the way of attentiveness over the way of anticipation.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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