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More on Mary and Martha

Dear Friends, Magda Wills, a blog reader and writer friend, often shares her reflections on what has been written on Whatever He Says, via email. This time I asked if I could share her thoughts on a recent post, here.

The post was, "Nothing for the Journey," which mentioned Mary and Martha.

Here are Magda's thoughts--with thanks:

It's by grace we are saved, not by our works (nor non-works) lest we should boast. Years ago a close Christian friend asked what I thought it really meant to be saved. What are we saved from? I remember answering "from ourselves." God has used poor health, a Balaam-like experience and many closed doors in the transforming process to a Mary.

Eventually we learn that God is trying to tell us something. But that usually doesn't happen until we experience the truth for ourselves and then we start making the right choices out of our own desire rather than His discipline. Our will and God's will become one and the same. That has been my experience as I find truth in our wedding text John 8:32:

If you stick with this, living what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.(The Message)

As I learned over and over again that the world could function quite well without me and that the outcome of a Mary life is peace and an intimate relationship with Christ I had not thought possible, I started to make my own choices rather than being forced into this lifestyle by God's discipline. I do not feel I have to save or help the world but rather those whom God has chosen for me. This too has been a freeing experience.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. John 17:6

And so the model for my life is the story of the woman at the well. Jesus sat at the well to rest after leaving Judea where the Pharisees were busy with outcome evaluation, comparing the number of baptisms by John's disciples to the number by Jesus disciples'. Years ago I heard my calling to be a woman at the well (my home named the Chartwell model) and God would bring the people to me. I also felt He was calling me to write about the spiritual process and how it differs from the religious process. You can imagine my surprise a few years later when I heard a lecture on how the story of the woman at the well is the introduction of the New Testament spiritual process modelled by Jesus, in comparison to the Old Testment religious process.

I believe we can learn much about a scripture passage by exploring what happened just before. So the woman at the well story comes after Jesus refused to get caught up in the competitive outcome evaluation of the Pharisees, and the Martha/Mary story follows the story of the good Samaritan in which the religious leaders were too busy with their religious projects or sticking to their legalistic religious laws of not touching an unclean person to help a "neighbour" in distress.
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