JR is out of town, so no podcast this week...
However, I (Molly) have thoughts! I used to be a prolific blogger, and then life happened, and it got much easier to just say what I was thinking than to write it down and wordsmith it over and over. With JR gone, though, I thought it would be a good practice to try to write down a few thoughts that I would otherwise verbalize on our podcast on Tuesday afternoon.
First up: Mary and Martha. While I was driving and listening to the Gospel of Luke yesterday, I was struck by the fact that it was Martha who went to Jesus and complained about Mary in the first place. What confidence in her own righteousness! Can you imagine her shock when Jesus not only doesn't affirm her sister's terribleness, but he actually rebukes her? Given both sisters' familiarity with and affection for Jesus, I suspect Martha thought she had this one in the bag, but she was so wrong. And so abruptly humbled.
I then noticed this theme repeatedly in Luke as I kept listening. Jesus spends the next few chapters confounding his listeners at every turn. That annoying neighbor who gets what he's asking for only because he keeps on knocking? Actually good strategy; thumbs up from Jesus. The guy who confidently approaches Jesus because he's kept the letter of every law? Actually, far from the kingdom; thumbs down from Jesus. The guy who says, "Hey, what you're saying is offensive to us?" Gets another sucker punch, worse than the first.
It's actually pretty unnerving. Like Job, I usually feel like I've my theology pretty straight, and my life is pretty in order. Except ... it's not, and when things start to unravel, I get easily discouraged, weary to the bone of the struggles of this world. Which is God's mercy to me, because when things are going well, I'm Martha, I'm the lawyer desiring to justify myself, I'm James and John, obliviously confident in asking Jesus for absurd things like sitting at his right and his left in the kingdom.
Jesus' answers are unexpected, upside down. Just like his whole invisible kingdom. So my biggest lesson from reading this portion of Luke is one I feel like God has been teaching me a lot lately: humility. All I have is Christ. All I need is Christ. Anything of my own that I try to add to Christ will actually be to my detriment. And for Pete's sake, Molly, be a little less confident in your own goodness because that's quite possibly when you're in the most danger.