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Lenten Devotional 4/18/2019

Have you had the privilege of meeting TCU senior Lauren Keaney? Lauren, an early childhood education major, took time out of her busy student teaching semester to write this reflection for us.  She is spiritually wise well beyond her years, and I am delighted that she will be continuing her time at TCU to complete her M.Ed.


38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10: 38-42


What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.


 During this season of Lent, the story of Mary and Martha has been a much-needed reality check for me. It began when a priest encouraged me to reflect on how my interactions with God reflect those of the two women in the story. Like many of you, I’m sure, I see myself in Martha a little more than I’d like to.

I think sometimes it is easy for us who are trying to figure out what it means to pursue God to go about doing so too much like Martha and not enough like Mary. We think we need to do, do, do in order to encounter God in our lives. Like Martha, we can get caught up in what we are doing in the name of Him and miss out on what He is already doing within us. We forget that our identity in is who we are as God’s creations and not in what we do. God already chose each one of us and there’s nothing more we need to do to generate his incomprehensible delight besides show up.

That’s what Mary did—she showed up. She simply sat with Jesus and listened to Him. Mary recognized that the core of the spiritual journey is knowing who God is, not just going through the motions. To know God, we must spend time in quiet contemplation—something that is hard to engage in when you’re preoccupied with all your “doing.” Like Hafiz’s poem so beautifully points out, the challenge is to transition from thinking you still “have a thousand serious moves” to being consumed with the joy that comes from knowing and trusting your Creator.


 Creator of all, help us to find time in our lives to spend in the quiet with you so that we may deeply know your presence within ourselves and within others. Show us how to balance the qualities of Martha and Mary as we pursue you every day.


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