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St Martha (29 July)

Some years ago I had a holiday in Bavaria and kept seeing images of St Martha – sister of Mary and Lazarus – and a dragon. Now, I’d heard of St George and the dragon, but not St Martha and the dragon. So, when I got home I looked it up and discovered the legend that St Martha came to southern France to preach the Gospel and ended up taming a terrible dragon.

We know Martha best as a figure from the Gospels. Martha and Mary were sisters; their brother was Lazarus and they were part of the Lord’s inner circle. When we see Jesus with the disciples, He is fulfilling His mission, His public work. But at His friend’s house at Bethany we see a glimpse of His humanity - his need for friendship and relaxation.

Martha, of course, is the sister we can all identify with. Mary sat listening to the Lord while Martha busied herself with all the preparations. You know what it’s like when guests come - no matter how organised you are, there are things to always be done.

This is good as far as it goes but we should never be too distracted from our guests. And how often are we too busy and distracted to sit with the Lord, even for a brief time. In this summer months, let us remember this: we worry and fret about so many things and yet only one is necessary...

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