I spent Sunday doing a couple of church lady things. I helped with coffee hour and then was grabbed as an emergency usher to collect the offering. The New Testament lesson was Luke 10:38-43---the one in which Mary sits serenely at Jesus' feet while Martha scurries around cleaning, cooking and doing the hostess bit. This text seemed particularly relevant. Mrs. Fruit has family coming in from out-of-state this weekend. Not Jesus, but still pretty important. Both she and her mother are accomplished hostesses. They know how to make a bed properly and they provide correct matching towels. They get pretty worked up about the details. I'm much more laid-back. Mrs. Fruit showed me a huge list at the start of the weekend and asked me to help her, just a little bit.
As the text was being read, I was feeling pretty smug and vindicated. Then as the preacher launched into her sermon, my smugness dissipated. She posited that both Mary and Martha have it right, and that both ways are acceptable and legitimate forms of discipleship. Hospitality is a spiritual practice, and sometimes hospitality requires running around like a chicken with its head cut off (I'm paraphrasing). I felt rather convicted by this message and sorry that I hadn't been more enthusiastic to knock some of the tasks off Mrs. Fruit's list. I went home and spent a good bit of time outside weeding and straightening up things inside. I still did them my way: 40 minutes of weeding, 20 minutes of "Bad Girls" (British women's prison drama). 20 minutes watering, 30 minutes talking to my grandmother on the phone. Mrs. Fruit's way is to get up early, work like a dog until late in the afternoon, then collapse in front of the tv in a stupor, unable to hold a conversation or a thought.
After church, I had a really odd conversation with an older woman who I only know in passing. She must think I'm someone else, because she was urging me to join our church's choir or some other local choir. I can't carry a tune in a bucket so I'm not sure why she was telling me this.