Worship for Sunday – July 17, 2022

Genesis 18:1-10a

1The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10aThen one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.”

The Word of the Lord.

Psalm 15

1Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may abide upon your holy hill?

2Those who lead a blameless life and do what is right,
who speak the truth from their heart;

3they do not slander with the tongue, they do no evil to their friends;
they do not cast discredit upon a neighbor.

4In their sight the wicked are rejected, but they honor those who fear the Lord.  They have sworn upon their health and do not take back their word.

5They do not give their money in hope of gain, nor do they take bribes against the innocent.   Those who do these things shall never be overthrown.

Colossians 1:15-28

15[Christ Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 21And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

24I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 25I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

The Word of the Lord.

Luke 10:38-42

38Now as [Jesus and his disciples] went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

The Gospel of our Lord.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I see cute signs all over the place these days that say things like:   “God bless our mess.”   And “Welcome to our crazy – wild – loud – beautiful mess! ” Or “Please excuse our mess – but our standards have lowered with each additional child!”

And my personal favorite: “Sorry about the mess – but we LIVE here!”

These signs make me smile every single time I see them.

I love their lighthearted look at family life and house cleaning.   These signs also remind me of a beloved sister in Christ and the lessons I learned from her.

Long before these signs were trendy – my sister in Christ – Donna – had a sign hanging in her entryway that read – “Please excuse the mess: we are making memories!”

And Donna meant it. People came first! This was her superpower.   Donna had dust bunny blindness and couldn’t care less about clutter. She was completely and utterly at ease with the pile of work boots and coats by her backdoor.

Donna was a dairy farmer – a mom – a wife and a volunteer and there were only 24-hours in the day. So – when push came to shove – she shoved the boots into a pile and welcomed folks with a smile and a cup of coffee. She believed – if someone had a problem with her housekeeping – it was THEIR problem.   Not hers!

Honestly – Donna kinda melted my brain – because I grew up in a household where we literally cleaned the attic before parties. Our toys had to be put away every evening before bedtime and those same toys weren’t permitted to leave our rooms.   Cleanliness and order were worshipped like they were part of the Trinity.

And then I met Donna and read her sign. And I was drawn to her because she didn’t sweat the small stuff.   She was totally and unapologetically warm and welcoming and present.

Folks loved this about her. Her kitchen table was often busy with friends – family – neighbors – and folks from church. Because she cared more about you than the piles and the clutter and the chaos of life.

Donna was busy living her life and making memories . . .

I am not always so great at making memories. At being fully present with other folks.

Far too often I start moving too fast. I get too busy doing stuff. And I get too wrapped up in proving my worth or showing that I am being productive enough.

I get tons of satisfaction out of saying – “Look at me – look at me” with an earnest desperation usually reserved for job interviews and college applications. – “Look at how many things I knocked off my to do list!” “See how busy I am being super-duper busy!”

I am VERY easily distracted by many things! And I don’t think I am alone in this . . .

It is easy to let the busy-ness of life take over. To forget to take time for the things that matter like – our Lord.

We behave like marking a few more items off of our to-do lists is more important than prayer or Bible study or coming to church.

Or work is more important than spending time with our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Soon God takes a back seat in our lives.

In our Gospel reading for this week – we meet two sisters – Mary and Martha. They were Jesus’ dear friends. Jesus and his disciples often stopped by their home to visit.

And each time they stopped by – it was probably the same. Martha welcomed them warmly into her clean and tidy home.   But she didn’t have time to sit down for a visit. Martha had too much to do. She was a mover and doer and a worker bee.

But when Mary was different – she actually sits down with Jesus and they visit for a long time. As Martha marks job after job off of her to-do list – Mary visits with Jesus.

Finally – Martha is fed up with her sister. So – Martha rather huffily tells Jesus – “Lord – do you not realize I am doing ALL of the work around here ALL by myself?!?!?!?!”

Sighing – Jesus replies – “Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. You have missed the point entirely. You are missing out on what is really important in life.”

Jesus was not angry with Martha. But Martha had gotten her priorities mixed up. She was putting work and busyness before people and before her Lord.

Mary was no different from anyone else. Mary had work to do. But Mary also made time for her Lord.

In the Gospel reading – Jesus is not condemning Martha for working. Jesus is not saying Martha was wrong to prepare a nice meal for her friends.   Those are good things.

But Jesus is saying these things should not be our top priorities. Hard work has great value – but it is NOT more important than spending time with God!

The Gospel of Luke’s message to us this week is powerful. Jesus is telling us we need to make time for our Lord – even in the midst of our busy daily lives.

Busy-ness can be very seductive – but when we read our Bibles and pray and worship our Lord – we are opening ourselves up to even greater blessings than a clean house and a perfectly manicured lawn.

When we take the time to be with our God – our relationship with Him becomes stronger and so does our faith.

The blessings we receive when we spend time with our Lord last forever. Truly this is Good News – AMEN






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