Last Sunday I heard some very insightful reflections at different times and places within the church by Casey Orr, Lance Marshall and Tom McDermott, and saw a powerful example of “Holy Hospitality” in the full sanctuary at 11 am celebrating the very active, playful, and profound week of VBS.
In my mind, they all related to the lectionary reading in Luke 10:38-42 with the familiar story of Mary and Martha.
Too often we get stuck in our own “either-or” thinking about this passage and judge ourselves and others accordingly… as too busy with the details, or sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet. But, as Casey pointed out, Jesus is not present in this story, nor with us, as shaming judge. Truly, Jesus is God-with-us in each moment more as a compassionate presence encouraging us to see and hear more fully, from the depths of our soul, and in each moment.
What frees us to know ourselves as God knows us, is the converting and transforming experience of God’s Presence in the moment. That “better portion” of knowing ourselves as God knows us, is the foundation for each of us in our own unique callings and all of our doings.
(Some of you may have heard of “The Wesleyan Quadrilateral” where “Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience” are all considered in our faith journey and you may have heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating: Regarding the aspect known as “Experience,” we have barely scratched the surface and desperately need to go deeper if we are going to discern our unique calling and find wisdom in this difficult time.
The deep experience of the compassion of Jesus in each moment opens the way for Holy Hospitality that is not about Mary or Martha, but is a kind of “both/and” sacred rhythm between each perspective and centered in God’s grace.
Back in April, I wrote about “Hospitality as a Prayer Practice.” Now I’m thinking, as it relates to building trust and a safe place to welcome the soul’s depths into connection with God and in community, Holy Hospitality is perhaps “the One Thing” and “better portion” where we all must begin… And it starts with us being intentionally present to God’s Presence (which starts with our letting go of some of our busyness and unnecessary distractions.)
Grace and peace in your vacations. May they deepen your vocations.