Have you ever been to a meal at someone's home where the host's concern that everything be "perfect" ruined the whole evening? There comes a time in every good party when you just have to let the dishes stack up, the coffee get cold and the butter melt, so that everyone may simply sit down and talk around the table.
As you were reading that last paragraph, were you squirming in your seat just thinking of the mess in the kitchen and wanting to jump up and clean up the clutter? Perhaps you read the paragraph and just laughed at the foolishness of rushing around cleaning up the mess when you have people all around you to connect with after a great meal.
In biblical terms, if you are a "squirmer" to messiness and outraged at the lack of anyone else seeing the necessity for your perfectly planned evening (which did not include leaving a mess in the kitchen) you would be labeled a "Martha."
If you could care less about the mess and more about connecting with your guests, you would be labeled a "Mary."
But might I suggest that being a "Meticulous Martha" or a "Messy Mary" are not about who is right or who is wrong. It is not about "sis-ling rivalry. It is about having a spiritual focus. It is about having a peripheral vision. Having a spiritual focus is the ability to focus, not just on one minute detail, but to have the vision to see the spiritual stuff around you that may not be right in front of you in plain sight. That is peripheral vision.
In our scripture this Sunday, we will visit the story of these two sisters practicing (or not practicing) peripheral vision to maintain their spiritual focus. We will visit this story from Luke 10:38-42 to find the ways in which we might be helped in "tuning in" around us to discover or re-discover our unhurried God in the midst of the messes, clutter, and busyness of life.