What is Jesus Thinking?

Campfire Cooking by Dan Thibodeaux.jpg

Lectionary Reading: Luke 10:38-42 (NRSV)

Leadership is a strange thing. You have to try it on before it actually fits.

Some people seem to have natural instincts for leadership but even they must hone their skills, making poor showings along the way. If a person can learn from mistakes, they will find this a life-long teacher!

Church taught me valuable leadership skills. We had a summer program when I was in Middle School where I was named an “L.I.T.” which stood for “Leader-In-Training”. We helped out at various activities through our church’s children’s ministry such as Vacation Bible School, summer church programs at Camp Egan, and two weeks of day camps at the Naifeh Ranch.

The latter were times where we went out with small groups and had a home-in-the-woods each day. We learned here to dig a pit for the fire where we cooked our food. We learned to ring the pit with rocks - only the one tending the fire would be allowed inside this circle. I can remember making all kinds of meals such as hobo dinners, banana boats and pudding in a cup. This was the first place I ate super spuds. I learned that you couldn’t get antsy with the cooking time of the potato unless you wanted a crunchy spud! One of my favorites was when we made mini pizzas by placing foil across some hangers. We used English muffins topped with spaghetti sauce, grated cheese and pepperoni slices. My older brother rigged foil on the hangers at a 45 degree angle so the heat reflected back on the top and really melted the cheese!

I learned when playing games like Capture the Flag that if the teams were not even, the game was not enjoyable for everyone. When a particular athlete was dominating a game like “Squirrel-in-the-tree” you could switch the rules and reverse the person who was it so that the slower child could get off the hook.

I learned about leading a particular Psalm in worship through our small group’s particular interpretation. This may have been my first foray into church liturgy!

I learned that the leaders of the camp took me seriously even though I was in middle school. I was held to standards, given real responsibilities and expected to carry my weight. This was the camp where I brought my brother’s blow torch (with his permission) to help light the campfires after a downpour the previous night. I had no temptations to misuse it because I realized that this was a big responsibility. I also knew my brother’s reputation was on the line. I desired to live up to the person the church thought I could be.

In today’s scripture reading, we may be wondering why Mary is slacking off. This would definitely be a 21st century reading! When Martha addresses Jesus about her sister, she may be concerned about the gender roles that were being bent. The phrase “sat at the Lord’s feet” was a euphemism for discipleship. If someone bothers to learn something, they would be expected to eventually teach it. Women of that day would not be considered to teach and so Martha may have been trying to restore the order of things.

This example shows us that the church has long had a history of seeing the potential in people whether it was a woman being able to do things normally reserved for a man or a youth doing something normally reserved for adults. I wonder at the image of Mary teaching people about Jesus (and being able to repeat lessons he taught) following the resurrection. I bet that people came from all over to hear this marvelous woman.

To share God’s grace is a blessing. When we do so whether it be in a Bible lesson or in helping someone else to learn fire safety while cooking, we may find that we have chosen the better part and it can’t be taken away from us!

We’ll be exploring this passage further this Sunday in worship!

In Christ,

Sam

Follow Sam’s Blog at www.precedinggrace.blogspot.com. Photo by Dan Thibodeaux via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.