Saturday, 10 April 2010

loneliness ... Mary vs Martha mode ... relationship with You vs all that serving

April 7, 2010

Good morning, Papa, Jesus, Holy Spirit! Good morning, “my Lord and my God!”

I feel perhaps a little like Thomas this morning. The past few days – or even longer – I have kind of felt like a lot of the time I’ve had blinders on my eyes, and earplugs in my ears, and my heart wrapped in, muffled, by some kind of light-blocking curtain, when it comes to my relationship with You. Though certainly there have been bright moments, of course!

But this morning I sense Your sun, Your light, is shining again clear and bright in my heart, and that the blinders and ear plugs are removed. It is not that You have been absent or even hiding from me, I know. Perhaps I have just gotten too caught up in my “new business” planning. And caught up in trying to “figure out,” on my own, how that should happen and where it should take me. And even more critically, perhaps, trying to figure out, on my own, about where I “belong” in terms of the street ministry and all.

I said a couple days ago that I am lonely. And it’s true, I have been lonely. But I’ve been thinking that it is loneliness for human interaction. I’ve felt that my interactions at the street ministry have become rather shallow and less meaningful – that, like Martha in the gospel story, I’ve gotten so caught up in “serving,” that my interactions with the guests have become only mere snippets of conversation as I rush by.

Which is why, I expect, that I feel this longing to really sit down with Your word (and my journal) open and right at hand, and really, really talk and learn with the brothers and sisters. Or go back out on the street (away from the breakfast table) and sit and visit right there on the benches in the downtown square, or on the grass under the trees in the park. Or on the sidewalk, where people are sitting with their hats out longing for a handout…

But are really needing relationship – God’s love! – with You and Your children. And to hear those words of Peter and John: “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Not only being fed and clothed and housed, and even being brought into physical and mental health and wholeness. But walking in wonderful, eternal relationship with You.

Maybe I am also lonely for friendliness, for just simple things like inviting people once again onto my front porch, and yes, into my home. That’s why, I’m sure, I was so happy when R walked me home the other days, and even came inside for a few minutes for a chat. And why I keep, hopefully, putting out an extra lawn chair when I sit on my porch to read and write in the sunshine. And how thrilled I was to get those pictures yesterday of some street friends who really had become special friends, and often visited in my home – but something happened in their lives, and I haven’t seen them for a long while now.

And yet, even in all that, I see now that I am still caught up in Martha mode, for truly I have gotten so caught up in “serving the guests” I’ve lost track of You, the chief Guest, indeed the one and only true, real Reason for the gathering – for the party! And yes, for the serving.

I have lost track of being Mary, spending much time at Your knee, listening, learning, growing to know You more and more: the important thing, the needful thing, the thing without which the serving becomes, well, about serving, instead of being about You.

When You walked this earth, You constantly, without fail, withdrew and spent personal, focused time with Father. And You also spent focused time with Father and Your disciples. So that, when You were out there in the crowds, “serving,” You were where You knew Father was – and You were doing Father’s work (and You had prepared the disciples to do Father’s work too), seeing and loving with Father’s sight and love. You had Father with You all the time, and You constantly recognized Him, walked and worked with Him.

But You couldn’t have done that, could You, without first having Your relationship together, as always being the number one thing. Relationships, to grow and deepen, must be invested in. Especially relationship with You. Because all other relationships are actually diminished so incredibly if there is not a living, loving, growing relationship with You as the foundation. Without You, all our other relationships can really only be dim and shadowy. Imitations really, of the real relationship with You for which we are created. Yes?

Oh Father, I am sorry. Please draw me back to be Mary sitting at Your knee – and inviting others to be there also, together. Yes, with tummies filled and bodies warmly clothed. But always with the purpose of drawing others into Your love, into knowing You.

Father, honestly, I myself find it difficult to know at what point one steps out of Mary’s shoes and into Martha’s. It happens so easily, and seemingly out of such good intent. But Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, You know. And You can and will keep me there in the Mary place if only I ask. And yes, I am asking. Please. Thank You.

…. Oh my goodness, it is 6:20 m. And I am still here, sitting in my comfy bed, still in my jammies, empty tummy. But I really have had some Mary time with You, Jesus. Some Jesus time with Father! Some my spirit with Your Spirit time. Yes! Thank You.

I need to get dressed, eat, and leave, all in the next 10 minutes. But only if I am walking every step of this day with You. Otherwise there really is no point. Keep me with You alone, dear Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father – my Lord, God, Savior, King, Creator. Thank You. Amen.

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