Listening to Jesus
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Sermon based upon Luke 10:38-42, Psalm 15
Today I am going to talk little about 1) lesson from Luke and 2) bit of my call story.
Whenever I read this passage, I giggle some and think: Brady Bunch.
We have two people showing different versions of hospitality. Maybe you can identify with one or the other, or both at times. At one point I could be in the kitchen busy making a wonderful meal (I hope anyway). In that, I am pouring myself into my work, cleaning and tending as I can.
The flip is to be sitting with guests (presumably welcomed) having conversations.
Thus, Mary is sitting, listening to Jesus - to wisdom of Jesus. Martha is busy-body - doing service. Martha gets annoyed, “will you tell her to help.” A valid complaint. Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha…”
Is this a criticism? Not necessarily. Martha represent hospitality of service, and Mary represents the hospitality of the Word. Yet, Jesus encourages Martha to pause and listen as well - to be served before serving.
Besides, there is something wonderful about hearing wisdom, and this is Jesus. How often do we get that chance? How often do you pray?
Remember what Jesus says to followers (Luke 5). Jesus wants not just “fishers of fish” but “fishers of people.” Those who stop and listen for a moment might understand why.
There is an encouragement to meditation in this. “You are worried and distracted by many things…” Pause and reflect.
In the whirlwind of life, rising stresses, and losing control. In those moments, it is time to pause, take a break, a Sabbath, and listen for a moment. Listen not just to words, but listen to creation working with you and guiding you.
There is something about listening to wisdom, (not ego nor judgment) but wisdom. It is a pause from broken politics, demands, criticisms, pause from ugly egos. Wisdom just is, and you know it when you hear it.
That is why I love the Gospels. Like Mary, I find wisdom in the Word. The Gospels, reveal wisdom that values uniqueness of people, provides an inclusive welcome for all, and forgiveness when we need it the most. Along with Hebrew Scriptures and epistles, they teach us about the Creator and our relationship with the divine.
I want to share that wisdom. I do my best to follow, and I know that I am broken and fallible.
A bit of my call story…
I grew up in a devout family, and in my youth, I served the church because I loved the Gospel, especially the blessings upon broken people in Matthew 5 and the power of non-violent, inclusive love.
Yet as I grew older, I felt a disconnect from teachers and those teachings. I felt sore lack of inclusion - even outright hostility. I walked away not sure I would come back.
When I studied martial arts, I dug deeper into the philosophies around them. My heart opened to wisdom in Asian traditions with many parallels to the Gospel teachings.
Then as it were, I was involved with groups that regularly met at Plymouth. I decided to attend a worship service with skepticism. Turns out, it was the first time in a long time where I felt I could question God. I felt inclusion as well.
Then, someone came and asked “want to be a deacon?”, then later Stephen ministry which taught me to listen and to walk with people. One thing lead to another, and I felt something more. “The boss is on a roll!” I heard Jesus speaking/calling me.
In ministry, I hear people’s interpretations of sacred texts. Sacred stories invoke personal stories (some pleasant and joyful - some not). That is why they are living texts. When people tell me favorite verse, I want to hear why (not lists of memorized verses.) Tell me what you learned from them, and I am in.
Thus, I believe in the priesthood of all believers - acknowledging that knowledge, presence and forgiveness of Christ belongs not just to one - but to all God’s children. You teach me as much as (I hope) I teach you. We teach each other by being the face of God to those around us.
When you listen to Jesus speaking in these verses, find wisdom and meaning because they are our stories. See yourself in them.
I am merely a servant of the One who came before us and taught us. Like Martha, I serve how-ever and whenever I can. Sometimes I fail, but I do my best to bring the Word into this world, to share that divine wisdom and pause into our lives.
We have been given a ticket to God’s realm on Earth - an invitation to listen for Jesus still speaking and to seek the better angels in ourselves.
Listen to the wisdom of extravagant welcome, compassionate love, and forgiving mercy - for ourselves and for all. Be that wisdom in our broken world to those we know and those we disagree.
Be little like Mary and Martha. Feel good In your service of hospitality but never underestimate the value of wisdom in your presence. Be willing to sit and listen and find someone is nudging you to make good decisions - nudging you to enjoy the divine peace and share that with this world.
Thank you, St John. May my service be thought-provoking, growth-inspiring, and challenging when we need it, but also find ways to share the divine wisdom.
Thanks Be to God