The Passion Problem
Good Morning and Happy Monday! I know this is a busy week for so many, but I hope that you will join me in aligning our hearts before planning our days. Pour a cup of coffee and let’s talk Holy Week!
This is an important week. This is a week of remembrance, communion, servitude, and worship. We hope to start this week with a triumphant entry, just as Jesus had, and like Him- we know that though there may be solemn days ahead, there is victory in the end. This is Passion week!
As godly women, mothers, sisters, friends, and grandmothers, I know that in our hearts we are longing to worship in sincerity. We desire to set an example for our kids of what godliness looks like, even though at times it seems the whole world is against us. So how do we worship? How do we live this week in passion like Jesus?
Women of Worship
I don’t have a bunch of craft and recipe ideas to offer in this post- perhaps later this week- but for now I want to look at the heart of the issue. Because I feel it. We are longing for more, something deeper than a shortened church service or family get together. I have heard woman after woman recently state the longing they have to move past the frilly outfits and egg filled baskets and into true worship. We want to leave this week feeling like we truly celebrated, truly worshipped in Spirit and in Truth. But how?
I think the best way to begin is to look at women in the Bible.
Sisters in Service
In Luke 10:38-42, we read about to sisters serving a most important guest:
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at [a]Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And [b]Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
What would you do if Jesus came to your home for dinner? It sounds like some hypothetical interview question, but for these two sisters- it really happened. So think on it honestly for a moment because I think the Bible intended to teach us, as women, something about ourselves here.
What would you do if Jesus came to your home for dinner?
What do you do when people visit now? Are you welcoming even if they show up unexpected? Do you quickly tidy, trying to justify why your home looks lived in? Do you start planning a meal in your mind and dreaming up an entire issue of Martha Stewart’s magazine?
Or are you the type to drop everything? Do you ignore the mountain of laundry, pour your friend a cup of coffee and sit down to give them your full attention?
I’m the first one, I’m Martha. I know it, and I feel convicted about it over and over again. Don’t get me wrong I love when people pop over just to say hello, but I always feel the need to impress. I dream of some grand Italian eight course meal with place cards, crafts for the kids, and spotless walls. But in my extravagance I’m being hospitable, right? Isn’t that good to want to serve others beautifully?
Modern Day Martha
This past week I concocted a brilliant idea: one blog post for each day of Passion week. We could rejoice over our King together on Palm Sunday, chat about communion, Passover, Peter’s redemption, the cross, the veil, the Lamb, and end it on a high note at Sunrise on Sunday! It sounded like such a great idea! I dreamed of it bringing us mamas together, closer to God and to each other. It was brilliant.
Until last night at eight o’clock when I was supposed to already have one post finished.. Instead I was sitting on the couch staring blankly at one sentence on a laptop with four kids screaming, messy floors, and an exhausted husband. I started crying and I started praying. (I prayed in true Martha fashion.)
“God, I want to do this. Why isn’t it working? Why won’t you help me? I’m trying to serve you. I’m trying to glorify you! Where are you? I need you!”
Frustrated, I went to bed. But it slowly started to hit me. I felt called to blog twice a week; my plan was for Monday and Thursday. Everyday this week was a good idea, but it wasn’t God’s idea- it was mine. I put that burden on myself and then I got frustrated with God when I realized it was heavy.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Of course that doesn’t mean we won’t struggle or suffer from time to time, but God gives us rest. So often when we are exhausted it is because we have filled our plates with things God didn’t call us to do.
Perhaps it would have been proper as the woman in the home to serve. Perhaps it would have been dutiful and expected for Mary to rise and assist Martha in laying out the table just so and preparing enough food to feed the small crowd. But Mary was infatuated. Jesus- the Christ- was in her home, teaching! She sat at His feet and listened in amazement. I imagine Martha huffing and puffing in the background like I do when I think my husband isn’t helping out enough.
But Mary didn’t notice. Her mind was on one thing and one thing only.
Martha was concerned with many things, but Mary was concerned with the only thing that mattered.
Martha served, but Mary worshipped.
I love that Martha tattles. I think it actually says more about Jesus than her. I wouldn’t run to tattle to someone if it wasn’t someone I trusted. GOD is in their house and Martha is tattling like a two year old because she knows Jesus cares, she knows He is just, and she views Him as her friend- a friend with high enough authority to boss her lazy sister around.
I’m sure she thought Jesus would say “Oh Martha, how lovely you have made your home and you did it all on your own. Mary, you should help your sister, she has already done so much.” (I think that’s what we would all want to hear in her situation.)
Instead Jesus says, “Martha, Martha..” I can almost see Him snickering and shaking His head as He tells her she is the one concerned with the wrong things. “You are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Worried about many things..
Mama friends, are you worried and troubled about many things? How’s the laundry coming? Is dinner planned? Floors mopped? Sink empty? Did you pay your electric bill? All those things are temporary. If you miss out on a basket of laundry today, I assure you it will be there tomorrow. If the dishes don’t get washed after every single meal- life will go on. And by the time the kids come in from outside, no one will know you mopped in the first place.
I feel so much conviction here. I am, by nature, a perfectionist and a worrier.
Life is busy and there are things we have to do. But do we put them before Jesus?
Do you find yourself flustered and irritable? Do you feel like you are failing at times or get mad at the lack of help?
Do you make time to just sit at His feet?
Do you ever stop to worship or are you too busy?
Enter into His rest this week.
Mary of Bethany
But what about when we work? How do we honor Jesus and worship Him, then? Because we have to, at some point, do the laundry, vacuum, scrub toilets, and wash dishes. Jesus is in our homes even then, how then do we serve Him?
As we enter Passion week, one important story comes to mind, one that Jesus, Himself, says is worthy to be told.
6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”
10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
The Alabaster jar. Alabaster, at its finest, was a pure white rock. The jar must be broken in order for the oil to be poured out. It probably cost about a year’s wages. A precious treasure to Mary, no doubt. Most likely the greatest thing she owned. Pure white, broken, and poured out for Jesus. Preparing His body, pure and innocent, that would soon be broken and poured out for us.
She gave her best, her finest.
She poured everything out for Jesus.
Bring Your Alabaster Jar
When was the last time you poured out your heart to God in worship? When was the last time you opened your heart or your home to someone in need? I struggle with this so much. When I get still and let all the noise fall away and I just think upon God- it is easy to lose myself in His presence. But what if I praised Him in everything? What if we did everything as unto the Lord?
What if we rocked our babies to sleep for Him?
What if we washed the dishes and made the bed for Him?
What if we added something beautiful and peaceful to our lives each day for Him?
What if we brought our Alabaster jar out each morning, the best we have to offer of ourselves. What if we laid aside our complaining, our expectations, our worry, and our struggles and poured ourselves out for Him. We would probably look strange to the world.
A generation of women, singing praises as we scrub toilets. Whispering prayers as we fold our laundry. Aiming arrows in meekness and gentleness. What if we lived this way? Would people see Jesus when they looked at us? Would our lives minister to others?
Dear sisters, I hope that each of us (myself included) will bring out our alabaster jar this week. For so many, this is a busy week. You may have family get togethers to attend, company to entertain, meals to make, and eggs to dye. But there is so much more to this week and every week. Live this day, like Mary, with a heart bent on eternity. Let everything you do, be done as unto the Lord. Encourage others to join you in celebration. Tell your babies about Jesus. Search your heart and seek where you should be this week, then break and pour out your alabaster jar. I hope to meet with you all at the feet of Jesus this week!
Happy Passion Week!