These are two stories that appear only in Luke's gospel. The Good Samaritan is known by most people - even if they are not regular church-goers. Most people would recognize that a "Good Samaritan" is someone who does good deeds selflessly.
It's always a good story for us to review and hold at the forefront of who we should be as Christians.
The second story of Mary and Martha would have been controversial in Jesus' time and depending on which church tradition is interpreting it, it may remain controversial today.
When read at a cursory glance, Martha seems to be irritated because Mary is slacking off on the household chores. When we look at the previous chapter on hospitality, we might agree. However, Jesus then offers a reversal and claims that Mary is the one in the right.
"To sit at the Lord's feet" in verse 39 was a euphemism in the day of Jesus referring to a disciple sitting at the feet of his rabbi. Martha may be appalled that Mary is breaking with tradition.
It was unseemly.
However, Jesus shocks and surprises by commending Mary rather than condemning her.
United Methodists have ordained women to serve as pastors since 1956. It is a reclaiming of the tradition set forth by Jesus over 1900 years previous.
It has not been an easy road of acceptance for our female clergy. I know of one story in our conference where a church asked for the conference not to send them a woman. The response of the district superintendent was that they had better stop baptizing all their girls.
The two stories are a break from tradition concerning Samaritans and women. It seems that God will speak through the one God calls regardless of what we think.
God just won't stay in the box of our construct.
|Christ in the House of Martha and Mary|
by Diego Valazquez, 1618.
There are many interpretations to this painting. I think it fits well with my blog.