Slideshow image

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one.” Luke 10:42”

This well-known story of Jesus visiting his friends, Mary and Martha, contrast Mary who was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to her sister, Martha who was doing the responsible thing of hospitality—rushing around preparing food and worrying that everything was prepared. Jesus tells her there is need of only one thing. And he says, “Mary has chosen the better part.”

The author and Franciscan priest, Fr. Richard Rohr, writes about this passage in his book, The Naked Now: “Martha was everything good and right, but one thing she was not. She was not present—most likely, not present to herself, her own feelings of resentment, perhaps her own martyr complex, her need to be needed. This is the kind of goodness that does no good! If she was not present to herself, she could not truly be present to her guests in any healing way, and spiritually speaking, she could not even be present to God. Presence is presence is presence. How you do it is how you do everything.”(p. 58)

The spiritual practice this week, and all weeks and all days and all moments is to be present to how we do the moment.  Are you distracted? Worried? Planning ahead? Busy? Be present. So simple, yet so hard to practice. Yet it is what Jesus called only one thing that is needed.

Pastor Marcia Wakeland is a retired ELCA pastor, a spiritual director and a listening advocate. She is interested in the actual experience of having faith and how that is lived out. She can be reached at for comments or more questions Her ongoing blog of living out spiritual practices is