Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield
The Ordinary Office

Sunday 21st March 2021

Alpha and Omega, detail from the east window in Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield.

As far as lockdown weeks go this was a good one for getting out of the house. I continued collecting my granddaughter from school, but the highlight was I got to see Dad. By cycling over I also found out how unfit I have become, more exercise and fewer pies are needed.

To see Dad at his home I had to take a lateral flow Covid test then wear minimal PPE of gloves a mask and disposable apron. He hadn’t changed much, but was finding it strange that I was dressed funny and meeting in his room. I’m not a great one for touching, but It was good to be able to touch Dad again after over a year. Good times, even if I have to wear gloves.

Radio Leeds, one year of the service of the airwaves “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,” which was used in the first ever service as we went into lockdown.

The bad bit came due to the choice of music, or rather from bad diction. The singers of the hymn sang, “Free us from all eels.” Music directors, it is possible to sing a long i sound, you do not have to apply the rules of singing Italian opera to singing English. On the other hand, if we ever become under attack from eels that hymn would become useful.

Before I get on to the Holy Trinity service, I attended a third service. It was also on YouTube and run by The Ordinary Office. Wow!, That was forceful! Thoughts on women’s rights and what we need to do to make their equality in Jesus Christ a reality in the church that bears his name. The sermon was by Rebeccah, who was part of our congregation a year ago and now is involved in this ministry, mainly a church for those who find getting into churches difficult for a number of reasons. Well done Rebeccah, I love the response on Twitter about the service and how God is using you. The service is here.

In Holy Trinity’s You Tube service the leader was Eva, university student. We heard later about how on a mission at the University in the last week God has been working in the hearts of the students in Huddersfield. We were asked to keep praying. But first we were welcomed to worship by reading Psalm 47.

It was good to hear the topic of women being harassed in the prayers, we have had problems with keeping things topical in our virtual services in the past due to production time.

Ahead of the reading, the preacher, churchwarden John, spoke about the sermon series about Jesus’ encounters with different people. Jesus always brings hope, but starts where they are and speaks into their situation. Which brings us to the subject of the day, the story of Jesus’ encounter with Martha. The story of Mary and Martha had already been seen in a sketch performed by students.

What do we know about Mary? She sat at home after the death of Lazarus when Martha went to find Jesus, Mary was the one who anointed Jesus feet. Yet Jesus loved Martha.

Before we continue with the passage let me say that the usual interpretation of the passage of Mary and Martha is one of my bugbears, that doing things is wrong because Martha was wrong. That will not do! That passage comes straight after the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the hero of the story is someone who does something and the two who do nothings are the villains. (That was not mentioned in today’s sermon.) We are supposed to hold these two stories together and work out what is happening. Also in John’s Gospel it is Martha who is the first to recognise that Jesus is the Messiah. It was a pleasant surprise then to hear the story of Marta’s business and Martha’s recognition together in one reading. My mini-rant is over.

The reading was a complicated one, made up of a passage from Luke’s Gospel followed by two more from John’s Gospel, Luke 10:38–42, John 11:1–3, 17–27. Please read this passage, which I have made easier in the link, before continuing with my notes on the sermon.

What do we know about Martha? She wanted to keep herself busy, make sure things are right. Martha worried about the things you had to do to entertain guests. Martha was loved by Jesus, the Bible says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, Martha was viewed as a follower. Martha recognises Jesus for who he is. She clearly expresses her faith in Jesus. The worrying was her distraction, she failed to listen and was too distracted.

Three points:

  1. Jesus calls us to spend time with him. then the important thing will cime into order,
  2. Our lives can be filled by day to day things that are not important. Our service for God can become more important than our relationship with God. Things we do for God can become burdensome. Loving and spending time with Jesus all comes from our relationship with him. Jesus does not condemn Martha but says she has become worried and focussed on catering arrangenents.
  3. Jesus meets us where we are. Jesus meets us where we are faults and all. Jesus wants us to be honest with him in our meeting him. Jesus longs to hear the honest cries of our hearts.

Can we be so busy sorting our lives that we forget to ask Jesus, but Jesus calls us as we are. Jesus wants you to hear his call to you. You don’t have to get everything in your life sorted first, he calls us just as we are.

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