Lectionary text for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost:
Genesis 18:1-10a: “The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He 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. 3 He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let 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.’ 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ 7 Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then 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.
9 They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ 10 Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.
Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But 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.’ 41 But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost comment: The word that repeats in my mind as I read these texts in the word, 'time'. The repetitive thought is how in our age 'time' is valued by what we can produce rather than treasured for what God will develop in us.
For Abram and Sarah, their reproductive clock had stopped. They needed to rise to a level of relationship with God to know that God is in complete control of time. I have reached a point in my life to know that when I attempt to speculate on how God will intervene in my life for a particular reason or purpose, it never happens the way I think. I believe God enjoys reminding me that God's ways are truly different than anything I can imagine. Also I believe God delights in surprising me!
Mary, like many of us, had a one-sided view of time. For her time was for doing. She needed to learn that time is also for being: Being as in the passive position of receiving: Being as in reclining in the hammock-like peace of God. Being is taking the time to know that God is pleased with God's handiwork in you and in me.
O God, we acknowledge that you are above time, yet you revealed yourself to us when you created time with the words, "In the beginning.” O God, you are beyond time, yet you intervene in time using all creation. For Abram and Sarah, you sent three 'human-like' visitors.
O God, give us the discernment to see you in our next door neighbor or someone we talk to while waiting in a line.
O God is it too farfetched to believe that at the right time you will send a gentle breeze to cool our summered brows. Or when sunrays separate darkened clouds, you remind us that you will never leave us nor forsake us? We wait with anticipation, knowing you are always on time!
Expecting a blessing in Ordinary Time,
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