Mary, Martha, and the choices we make – a sermon

Here we have the story of two sisters: Mary and Martha. Martha is busy. She’s got guests. She’s cooking the food, serving the food, doing the washing up. There’s so much to do! And what is her sister Mary doing? Nothing! Not lifting a finger to help. Just sitting there listening to Jesus. No wonder Martha is annoyed – I think I would be too. Shouldn’t Mary be doing her share?

But Jesus takes a different view. “Mary has chosen the better part,” he says. Isn’t that what we all want – to choose the better part, to make the right decisions. But how should we choose? What is the “better part”?

We all make choices all the time.

[choosing game]

Some choices are trivial, they don’t really matter. But other choices are really important. Some will even change the rest of our lives. So how do we make those important choices?

We, like Mary, need to “choose the better part”. We need to draw near to Jesus, to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying, to spend time in prayer trying to discern the will of God for us. And then, out of that contemplation, we need to choose and to act.

Good choices come from listening to Jesus.

Good choices come from single-minded – single-hearted – focus on God, without any distraction. That is what Mary is choosing when she chooses “the better part”. This is what we too are called to, and out of this devotion to God, out of prayer, all other choices should flow.

There are some big choices, some important choices – some life-changing choices even – being made here is morning. Oliver’s parents have chosen to bring him to be baptised. Steffan and Carys have chosen for themselves to be baptised. And Carys, Steffan, Sam, Leila, and Fraser have chosen to begin receiving the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

All of these choices have come from these children’s – and their families’ – desire to draw closer to Jesus, to follow God’s call to them, to live life guided by the Holy Spirit. The choices they make today are, very definitely, “the better part”. These choices to receive the sacraments of baptism and communion will, in their turn, enable these children to draw still nearer to Jesus as they continue to seek God’s will in their lives.

Learning to listen to Jesus, to focus fully on God, is a life-long journey. Choosing, and going on choosing, to follow Jesus is the difference which will make the greatest difference to every aspect of your life.

If you have not been baptised and would like to be – or would like to bring your child for baptism; if you would like to start receiving communion; if you have seen the notice about confirmation and are interested in finding out more about what that means and whether it is a choice you might want to consider; if any of these sound like you, come and talk to us. Talk to me, to Hugh, to Jackie, to any of the ministry team. Talk to us today. That applies to absolutely everyone.*

We will be so delighted to walk with you as you work out the choices which will help you live your life focused on Jesus – to live in peace, joy, love, hope.

And to everyone, all of you, at whatever stage you are at on your journey with God, I offer this challenge: How will you hear God’s voice? How will you choose to listen to Jesus? What choices is the Holy Spirit calling you to make?


*And it applies to people reading this online too. If this is you, find someone to talk to about it! Your local clergy will be delighted to hear from you, I’m sure. If you don’t have anyone local you feel you can talk to, feel free to get in touch online. 

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