Monday, December 1, 2014

Mashed Potato Parable

The Mystery within...

The Biblical parable of Mary and Martha tells the story of Jesus showing up at their house with the usual crowd that followed him.  Martha is in the kitchen working to put food together for them while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to the Teacher. Martha complains to Jesus that Mary should get in the kitchen and help her.  When Jesus says Martha, you are distracted by many things—Mary has chosen the better part, it will not be taken away…  I identify with Martha.  Thanksgiving was made for us Marthas.  Even so, I was grateful not to be this past holiday’s chief cook and instead was invited to my son and daughter-in-law’s for dinner.  I was assigned to bring the mashed potatoes, which I did, and for good measure also brought a sweet-sour red cabbage dish, because that’s what Marthas do.

Nadia Bolz-Weber, Author of “Pastrix, the Cranky Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” (which I am currently enjoying) has a little deeper take on what this story means.  She says it's “…not that we are distracted by work itself, but that we are distracted from the better part when we judge the actions of others through the lens of our own personality.     And the more we live our lives in these kinds of judgments about the actions of others, the more distracted we are from the better part…  She also says the main thing we forget is our own sacred story.  I know how easy it is to forget how uniquely different we all are from one another.  Mary, Martha and the Main Thing,” according to Nadia Bolz-Weber, can be found at Sojourner magazine’s blog, “God’s Politics,” where some of her refreshing and poignant 10-minute sermons can also be heard.   

I am happy to be more accepting of the personality who brought the mash potatoes and red cabbage.  I understand, in a new way, how I differ from the preparer of the green bean casserole, and am distinct from the one who brought the cranberry relish, and different too from the fresh green salad provider, and the many bearers of desserts, as well as the preparers of the turkey and dressing.  But all together we created and shared a uniquely tasty, nourishing feast, from our diversity.

What if we all accepted the uniqueness of our own and others’ personalities? 


  1. I found a lot of unique terms from your blog. The biblical parable of Mary and Martha tells the real thing about Jesus that shows good faith and love.

    God’s Favor | Unmerited Favor

    1. Thanks Elmer. It is always exciting when we uncover the real thing about Jesus' teaching.

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