(sorry, the first time I published this the end got cut off--here it is in it's entirety)
A week or so ago I was having martinis with my church group, the Mary Circle. We named ourselves after Mary in the bible story--not that Mary but the one whose sister is Martha. And it's such a great story I thought I'd tell it again for those of you who may have forgotten it or never heard it.
Here's how it goes:
Jesus was invited to a meet-and-greet at Mary and Martha's house to talk about his ideas and maybe do a little fund-raising. A bunch of neighbors had heard about this guy and his crazy ideas of loving everyone so they figured, what the hell, they'd stop by and see what it was about and everyone knew that Martha and Mary threw a great cocktail party so why not.
As the house filled up, Martha and Mary got a little nervous about entertaining so many people and they ran around the kitchen trying to make little appetizers for everyone. Martha especially liked those cubes of cream cheese wrapped in corned beef but Mary had forgotten to get toothpicks so she was having trouble with it. Finally, Mary got annoyed with the whole thing and figuring she would miss the party if she stayed there trying to help Matha make everything "perfect" she just left the kitchen and joined the crowd in the living room. She tried to get her sister to join her, "Hey Martha, ditch this and let's go see what this Jesus guy has to say." Martha was annoyed with her younger sister and said in a very sarcastic, martyr way, "Go right ahead, I can do this by myself." But she was pretty ticked about it.
Mary went into the living room and sat right down and Jesus's feet. She was fascinated by him. She loved every word he had to say and she stared up at him like he was George Clooney himself. She forgot all about the appetizers she was supposed to be passing and the cosmos she was supposed to be mixing and just listened to him talk about loving everyone.
After a while, Martha came in with the appetizers and finding Mary at Jesus's feet, just sitting there (she hadn't even passed out the cocktail napkins) she had had enough. Jesus could see she was agitated and said, "Martha, what's wrong, dear?" (he was like that, always calling people dear even though he was much younger ) and Martha blurted out in her best tattle-tale voice, "I have been in the kitchen for the past hour trying to make nice food for you and Mary is just sitting there listening to you and not even helping!" She was a little sorry she'd tattled but felt a little happy knowing she would soon be vindicated when Jesus told Mary to help her sister.
Much to her surprise (and that of Mary) Jesus did not chastise Mary. Instead he said, "Martha, come sit down with Mary. That's where you belong, here with your guests, not in the kitchen! Mary gets it."
I love that story and I love my Mary Circle friends and I love that we try to be more like Mary but mostly we are like Martha (hey someone has to make the food) and I love that even Jesus wants you to get out of the kitchen and just order takeout for dinner sometimes.