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Mary and Martha Moment


It started with a fiesta del dia de la madre (Mother’s Day Party) on Saturday night.  The women of Iglesia Creekside were celebrating mothers in a grand fiesta.  It began at 5pm and I naively thought it might end at 7pm and I’d have time to buy groceries for my own mini-Mother’s Day fiesta with my daughter and her family on Sunday.  Nope!  I left the party around 9:00pm and bagged any thought of grocery shopping.

During the fiesta, Pastor Raquel’s own mother, Elba Barrientos, gave an emotional sermon on the passage on Mary and Martha in Luke.  As Elba spoke in Spanish, I understood very little of the actual words, but loved the power of her speaking, her mannerisms and inflections and the response of the women listening, who laughed, raised their hands in enthusiasm, spoke back to her.  It was a love-fest of a sermon between preacher and hearers.


I did glean a little from the sermon.  Elba spoke of the battle between being a Martha or a Mary in her own life.  She relates to Martha as a hard-working woman, who loves cooking and loves business.  But she wants to be like Mary, who chooses the most important thing – Jesus, and listening to the word of God, the truth - above all else.  Elba described how her daughter, Joselina, began attending Friday worship service.  And this convicted Elba.  She often worked into the evening on Fridays, preparing pupusas for her clients with her food truck.  But the Lord showed this to her as a Martha versus Mary moment – a choice.  And with the example of her daughter before her, Elba chose to stop work on Friday night and go to worship service.

The next morning was Mother’s Day.  I had planned to make “pull-apart” beef for Mother’s Day dinner, as my grandsons like that.  That requires a full day in the crock-pot, and of course, I had already muffed that by failing to shop in time.  I was mulling what adaptations might be possible if I shopped after church.  Aha!  I’ll shop before church.  I was on the verge of going out the door when I remembered – prayer meeting at 8:30am.  Urgh.  I don’t make it all the time but sometimes when I go it’s just Linda and me.  I didn’t want to leave her alone. But, I really wanted to make my beef dish that requires 10 hours in the crockpot!

It seemed a Mary and Martha moment.  I remembered Elba’s story about stopping making pupusas on Fridays in time to attend worship service.  Hmmm.  Yes, go to prayer meeting.  I cheerfully did and it was wonderful as always, but I wondered – what am I going to do for dinner???  It’s all well and good to choose Mary, but four extra people will still show up expecting to be fed tonight.

Unexpectedly, a few of us went to lunch at Crossroads after church as a couple of Mother’s Day events were canceled because of sickness. I was already behind schedule, so why not???  As usual, I went to Ebru and ordered lentil soup and tabouli from Manuel.  I told Manuel, “I have to think of something to cook for Mother’s Day dinner tonight.”  And I told him how I had planned to make a crock-pot meal but didn’t have time anymore.  Manuel confidently recommended salmon and salad.  “You can put the salmon on the salad, or on the side for people to choose, and make a nice dill sauce for the fish, it will be quick and lovely.”  He told me how to make the dill sauce, and I knew in that moment “that’s what I’m going to do!”  And I had plenty of time to shop and make it.

We don’t even know if Mary and Martha were mothers, do we?  But, Mary and Martha were a key part of my Mother’s Day, with thanks to Iglesia Creekside, Elba, Manuel and all the sisters and mothers in our Creekside churches and beyond.

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