Photo Credit: "Straight Path" by Flickr user Nana B Agyei, CC BY 2.0.

By the Rev. Harriet Wilkin

Thank you to all those who were the Martha’s of the Clergy Orders!

Rev. Harriet Wilkin

On Wednesday afternoon, Rev. David Nieda presented a workshop on “Work/ Life Balance.” The main scripture text he used was from Luke 10:38-42, where Martha is portrayed as the busy bee, buzzing all around and then asking Jesus to scold Mary for not helping her prepare for the guests. And what does Jesus say? In a word, no. He was not going to tell Mary to leave her place by his feet, where she was listening to his words. Jesus told Martha that Mary was exactly where she needed to be.

That evening, as I reflected on the text, Jesus’ words spoke to me. Jesus tried many times during his ministry to teach his disciples that he was/is the Bread of Life. He taught that our nourishment was to come from him. The interaction between Martha, Mary, and Jesus was my reminder, my nugget from Clergy Orders that I need to take time at Jesus’ feet.

From Wednesday to Friday, while attending the Orders Retreat, I was to be a Mary. I could take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and have nourishment for my soul, for my spiritual life. As Sue Magrath said in her plenary address, we clergy need to be mindful not only of the passengers that are in our car with us, but also make sure that our tires do not become flat. One of my tires was becoming flat. Clergy Orders came at a perfect time, right before Lent. Even though we are busy at this time of year preparing for Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week; we too need to take time for ourselves.

So, I say thank you to all those who were the Martha’s, buzzing around preparing beforehand, during, and after Clergy Orders, so that I could be a Mary.

Rev. Harriet Wilkin serves as pastor of Ephrata United Methodist Church in Ephrata, Washington.


  1. Thank you for your reflections Harriet, from one of the Martha’s for the retreat. Our hope was to offer a time for Mary-like reflection on a number of levels of our lives and ministry.

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