This past Sunday took us the relatively short journey across County Down, through Hillsborough, to Ballynahinch. I dare say that for quite a few people Ballynahinch is somewhere you drive through en route to Newcastle and the Mountains of Mourne; no doubt the residents of the town would have a few things to say about that! Ballynahinch is home to a lively Baptist Church on the edge of the town. The photo doesn’t really do justice to a modern facility (renewed and extended about 5 years ago) which is home to one of the bigger Baptist congregations in Northern Ireland.
I’m doing a couple of Sunday mornings with them and taking a look at two adjoining passages in Luke: the story of Mary who listened to Jesus, at the end of chapter 10, and Jesus’ teaching on prayer at the beginning of chapter 11.
This week was listening and we looked at the story of Mary (contrasted with her sister, Martha), making some observations about service (the story is not meant to teach that service is bad, or unnecessary), about distraction (Martha had got to a place where what she was doing for Jesus was no longer an act of heart-felt devotion), and about devotion (Martha effectively devalued what Mary was doing, but Jesus affirmed her.
Jack Miller’s statement is pertinent:
What good are all my labors if I’m no longer enjoying the Lord?