We all know what it feels like to be off-kilter, to be out-of-sorts, to lose our bearings, to not be ourselves. When we’re scattered we lose wholeness and consistency. Multiple aspects of our selves compete for attention. Internal fragmentation makes for a lack of peace and satisfaction. One of the primary ways scripture talks about the human condition is to describe our worst moments as chaotic.
Christian spirituality has taught that a primary way to find meaning, purpose, and wholeness is to invite God to be at our center, to make love the core of our operative lives. And God intends this for us! There’s a reason why the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in the center or middle of the Garden of Eden. There’s a reason why the Israelites made the Temple the middle of their community life. And there’s a reason why we place an empty cross in the middle of our worship space at Bethesda-by-the-Sea.
When Jesus asks his friend Martha to move from a scattering of many things to focus on one necessary thing, we understand that he’s speaking to any of us about rediscovering a centered life in God.
“Martha, Martha” … or Bill, Bill … or Kathy, Kathy … or Bob, Bob, “you are anxious about many things. One thing needful; Mary has chosen the better way.”