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From the October 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal

THE BIBLE GIVES US FIVE SHORT VERSES that contain so much meaning in their simple description of a gathering of friends—two sisters, Mary and Martha, and Jesus (See Luke 10:38-42). They have come together to share a meal much as friends today would do. Vital lessons pour out from this scene, offering us the opportunity to learn from this story—and even change our lives from its message.

Martha, bustling about setting the table and preparing the meal while Mary quietly sits at Jesus' feet hearing him, complains bitterly. She accuses Jesus of not caring that she has so much to do without her sister's help. But instead of directing Mary to help Martha—as Martha has asked him to do—Jesus patiently explains that only "one thing is needful," and that Mary has "chosen that good part. "And he adds that this "good part" will not be taken away from Mary.

The sisters might symbolize aspects of human consciousness—a mixture of material and spiritual impulses engaged in a tug-of-war. Martha represents something all too familiar to most of us—the pull of mortal life with all its distractions, frenzy, pressures, and activities. On the other hand, Mary symbolizes a spiritual stance—a quiet and resolute commitment to be humbly consecrated to divinity, ever attentive to Christ, ready to hear Truth.

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