Hostess/Martha or Content/Mary?

Yesterday was a day-long (well, five hour) women’s retreat at the church that I grew up attending.  It’s a fine church, filled with many fine women.  With a friend, we comprised the entire 20-45 demographic, but it was still fun.  I have this thing every time I attend that church though–I call it attending church-lite.  I feel like there is no meat there sometimes.  For example: I knew I had to watch what I wore, the makeup I had on, and how I had my hair because my mother would be there–and those are the things that are important at these events.  Still, it was a nice time, and it was great to see old friends.

Back to the point: one of the breakout sessions yesterday was on how to be a hostess.  “Extending Hospitality: Welcoming Guests and Easy Entertaining”.  All about how to be a great hostess, to make sure that everyone’s needs are met and taken care of and that all are happy.  Even came with a recipe book emailed after class so you could have a bunch of hors d’eouvres  to choose from.

Today’s lesson at kids church: Martha and Mary (or Buffy and Blair in our skit) and how Buffy is too busy cleaning, making tacos, and burning an apple pie to sit and talk to Charles like Blair did (i.e., Jesus).  The small group session was interesting, as today I had four 4th-5th grade girls.  The discussion on how things distract us was intriguing, and we were talking about how sometimes the ‘gotta do’ things add up and we forget to sit and enjoy the guest.

It was interesting to me, that I had these two lessons within 24 hours.  The first was outlining your Martha responsibility, and making sure that you were the best Martha that you can be, and the second was on how to listen to your inner Mary and make your natural Martha stand down.

That’s enough to mix anyone up!

Back to what I was saying about the church-lite feeling.  Not to slam on the church that I grew up in, but they are your textbook Southern Baptist women.  (My friend was amazed by the lunch buffet–without a speck of Ukrops chicken, may it RIP–and I told her that she was at a Baptist function now, where your worth as a Christian woman can sometimes be defined by the quality of the covered dish that you bring.)  I sometimes feel that the lessons that I receive at that church are very superficial.  How to look like a woman of God, how to act like the perfect hostess, because heaven forbid someone talk smack about you after an event because of the way you were dressed, the fact that you had store bought (horror!) pie, the fact that you, who have been widowed for the last twenty years, are getting married to someone who has been active in the church for the last 40 but his wife has only been dead for two.  (Yes, all these things were said to me by my mother within the first half hour of me showing up.  Gossip central.)

I look at all that and see that someone who expresses their individuality in their wardrobe even if it is not my style, someone who may not have had the time to cook but had the forethought to go out and purchase something so that a dessert would be covered, someone who is getting a chance at happiness with a man that is a pillar in the church and a true man of God.  What is wrong with these things?  I don’t see where the drama is.

Anyway, interesting juxtaposition, don’t you think?  The two lessons certainly had the same theme but drastically different messages . . . and somehow I think I’m going with the one that was told today.

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