Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Martha Sabbath

Sometimes i take a Martha Sabbath.

Usually i'm Mary. I like to worship in community. I like to hear other ideas, other voices. I like my thoughts and feelings to be confirmed, and i like my thoughts and feelings to be challenged. I like to sing, to pray, to listen. I know that these things are important, and i feel that i need them.

But sometimes i'm Martha.

Sometimes, when i wake up on a Sunday morning, i just don't feel like going to church. Sometimes, the thought of putting on clothes and doing something with my hair and driving all the way to church and talking to people (talking to people! so many people! why do you talk to me?! leave me alone! i'm trying to worship and you're totally harshing my mellow!) is completely overwhelming. Sometimes, it feels like more of a chore than a joyful and necessary and longed-for part of spiritual life.

Yes, i know that we have to do these things. In a relationship, sometimes you have to do things you wouldn't otherwise be inclined to do. You have to go to a concert for a band you don't care for, because your significant other loves them and you want to be with that person when they are so happy. You have to go to family Thanksgiving so that your relatives can find out how you're doing and comment on your life. You have to get up early to make lunches for your kids before school. You have to go to church and talk to people and sing and sit still and pray. The practice of these things does build a bond (and i could lecture on the psychology of that, but i won't) between you and the object(s) of your affection. When it comes to spiritual disciplines, the bond is multifaceted: between you and God, between you and your pastor, between you and the other people on the worship team or in your Sunday school class or the other greeters or what have you. You are a part of their spiritual lives too, and it is your Christian duty to be there for the sake of their worship, just as it is their duty to be there for you. It builds community and love, it assists in spiritual growth, it fosters connection and learning and worship. Going to the same church every week is a good thing.

You know what's also a good thing? Sleeping in. Spending the day in PJs. Taking time to clean the kitchen for your roommates, or to cook lunch for your houseguests, or to shave your legs for your boyfriend, or to organize your desk for yourself.

Sometimes, you need to worship Jesus by caring for yourself and for others. Sometimes, you need to worship Jesus by bleaching the shelves in the fridge, or reorganizing the Tupperware, or sleeping for just one more hour.

Sometimes worship is the blending of voices raised to the Lord. Sometimes worship is snuggling with a cat and then washing a sinkful of dishes.

Mary worship is the norm, and that's as it should be. But never be afraid to take a Martha Sabbath.

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