Psalm 46:1-11 and Luke 10:38-42

Perhaps you are familiar with the Quakers, and especially their custom of beginning a meal with a silent grace. A non-Quaker youth was invited for a meal in a strict Quaker household. The youngster was not familiar with Quaker piety and in particular, the silent preparation for food. He later reported his response to it: “There was this embarrassing silence when we first sat down at the table, and nobody knew what to say, and everybody looked down, so I told a funny story and that seemed to break the ice.”*

Silence. There is not much of it these days, so we do not deal with it much better than that young man. Some families have their TV on all day, just for some noise in the house. Widows and widowers are prone to that, because they’re lonely, and I think that’s okay. People who jog or walk or work out, often have ear buds or head phones on to block out noises and other people. The problem I see with this is that you can’t hear what’s going on around you, and you become immune to life and the beautiful sounds in our lives.

Thirty-five years ago, Paul Simon, in his classic cry over the modern inability to communicate, wrote a Song titled: The Sound of Silence, “And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more, People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening, People writing songs that voices never share…And no one dare, Disturb the sound of silence. “Fool,” said I, “you do not know. Silence like a cancer grows.” **

If silence is viewed as a cancer, no wonder people avoid it. But then we hear again those words from the Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God“.  They are found in the midst of an ancient hymn, the Psalms were written as hymns, celebrating triumph over trouble and the rock-solid conviction that, no matter what God is with us and God is in control. In our busy, noisy life, we might not notice that, but in silence, we hear and learn.

As busy a lady as the late Mother Teresa was she observed, “God rarely is found in the midst of noise and restlessness; instead, God is the friend of silence.” “Be still and know that I am God.”

In Luke 10 we read the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus enters their home and Martha is running around trying to be the perfect hostess, Lazarus is probably sitting with Jesus, men didn’t do any household chores or cooking in those days. Thank goodness that has changed! And Mary is being still and getting to know Jesus.

Martha gets upset because she’s doing all the work and Mary is just sitting at Jesus’ feet listening. She goes out where they are and we read in Luke 10:40-42, ‘But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him (Jesus) and asked, “Lord don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (We can tell she’s upset because that statement is followed by an exclamation point.) “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”’

Jesus needs somebody to listen. He has just begun his journey to Jerusalem where he knows he will travel the bitter road to the cross, and he will experience the loneliness of being denied, abandoned, and betrayed by his disciples. He wants to make sure everybody understands what he has been teaching. Martha may think her tasks have a high level of importance and at another time she would be right but not now. Now, it is time to sit and listen.

Charles Wesley wrote, “Faithful to my Lord’s commands, I still would choose the better part; Serve with careful Martha’s hands and loving Mary’s heart.

There is a chapel somewhere in Wisconsin that has a stained-glass window over the entrance, showing the figure of Jesus with open arms. Some, seeing it for the first time, remarked, “How meaningful! He seems to be inviting us in to worship.” “That’s true,” the pastor said. “He is indeed inviting us in to worship.”

When the service was over and the same person was going out the door, he looked up at the window again. There was the figure of Jesus, with the same invitingly open arms. “Look!” he said. “Now he seems to be inviting us out.” “Right,” the pastor replied. “The Jesus who invited you to worship now invites you out into the world to serve other people in his name.”

Our Lord is greatly interested not only in what goes on in the church, but in what goes on in the office, the home and the factory. That’s where people spend most of their time. That’s where the Christian life is to be lived.

I’m your pastor and I am going to give you permission to worry. But, you can only worry if one of these 7 things happens to you:
*Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
*You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
*Your sister or brother forgot your birthday.
*Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the freeway.
*The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
*Your income tax check bounces.
*Your wife says, “Good morning, Bill”, and your name is George.
Other than that you don’t have anything to worry about!

Please, find a time to spend one-on-one time with Jesus. Get to know Jesus as well as
He knows you. He knows your thoughts, what you’re going to say before you say it, and your burdens. Jesus wants to carry those burdens. In Matthew 11:28, we read, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 46:10 has it right. “Be still and know that I am God.” Please find time to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to him.

Pastor Rosemary DeHut

References: * Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., “Background Noise,” Christianity Today,
July 17, 1995, p. 42
** Paul Simon, “The Sound of Silence,” 1964, BMI

© 2017 White Pine Community United Methodist Church

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