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Jesus Visits Martha and Mary (Rabel)

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This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 31 given on March 25, 1976

Luke 10:38-42, pp. 190-192 of transcript.

10:38Now as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 10:39And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord's feet, and heard his word. 10:40But Martha was cumbered about much serving; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 10:41But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things:10:42but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

When you are dealing, especially with a Gospel, incident, on the metaphysical level, you have to make certain adjustments in your thinking and help your listeners make these adjustments also. One of the primary adjustments that need to be made is, on the metaphysical level, you do not deal with characters used in an incident as separate and complete human beings in themselves. You must see them as symbolic of characteristics within all persons. We are going to talk about Mary and Martha; now, if you say "Mary stands for the kind of woman who ...", you are on the wrong track. If you say, "Martha stands for the kind of woman who ..." you are on the wrong "track, but if you say that Mary stands for a feminine characteristic in all people, you are on the right track; and Martha stands for a feminine characteristic in all people.

Then this incident which is irritating and inconclusive to many persons who think of these characters only in their literal meaning, is resolved; and you get the lesson that Jesus is trying to teach here. The lesson is so very simple, so very logical and very simple that it is almost kind of laughable after you understand it and look back and remember all the hassling that has gone on about this incident. It is very short. "As they went their way, He entered in a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, which also sat at the Lord's feet and heard His word."

Now, notice the word also there, which means Martha did it too. Martha and Mary sat at His feet and listened to His words, but then something happens. "Martha became cumbered about much serving, and she came up to Him and said, 'Lord, doest thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? Bid her, therefore, that she help me.' But the Lord answered and said unto her..." Now here is where people who do not see the metaphysical level get disturbed. "'Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, for Mary hath chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.'"

That is the end of it. Now, when you go to this incident as Jesus must have seen it, you see that Jesus is telling the reader who has eyes to see that Mary and Martha, being sisters, stand for the two good, useful components of femininity in all human souls; and the feminine nature of every soul, which is primarily feelings is typified in these two wonderful sisters, by the way, wonderful women, good women, friends of Jesus. Martha would typify, then, the feelings and concerns we have for doing, for serving, for being busy in outer ways to fulfill that desire of the feminine nature in all of us, while Mary, on the other hand, stands for our feelings and concerns for maintaining the inner contact and communications with the Christ-Mind, which requires not busyness and doingness but receptivity, subjectivity, and stillness. Now, for awhile, in this incident, everything is okay. Jesus is the visitor at the house. Spiritual awareness has been acknowledged, has been admitted.

The Christ-Mind, speaking through Jesus, is able to impart all the necessary communication to make this a household undivided, a hospitable, a useful, a productive, a friendly household, typifying the state of the soul of a person who is welcoming Jesus Christ into his midst, spiritual awareness coming directly from the Christ-Mind, communicating, first of all, through the feeling nature and maintaining a state of the feeling nature in which there is both stillness and subjectivity and also business and objectivity. Mary, doing her thing, and Martha, doing her thing, but how many souls are involved? Just one soul. The two sisters are the two aspects of the feminine soul in each person. This could have just stayed as is, but there would have been no hassle; so it is with human beings, and the state of the human beings' soul. If he lets well enough alone, when this sort of thing is going on, well and good, but every time there is a hassle in the soul of a person, almost inevitably, it comes from the busy, outgoing, exterior side of the nature, the Martha aspect. The part of us that has our feelings and concerns all wrapped up with "what's going on out here and who's getting all the gravy and who's doing all the work. It's always me who is doing all the work, yet someone else always gets all the gravy." That kind of emotional upset cumbered with too much serving, you see. "All I ever do around here is do, do, do; everybody else gets, gets, gets." I have heard it a million times, and the Martha-aspect of my own soul is always saying it.

Now, Jesus does not rebuke Martha. He does not say anything to disparage her, because He realizes the necessity of that kind of activity in the feminine soul; but He does call attention to that part of our soul that is becoming upset and over-anxious about things. "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful." He does not name what that is, but He implies what it is, and it is something that every person's soul needs all the time or else; and that is some kind of balance. This is the one constantly needful thing that every person always should take heed about. There is a need for balance.

It is hardly ever really that "there is a need here for more serving, more busyness, more getting-things-done". Hardly ever is there really a need for that, although we often interpret it this way. Nor is there hardly ever really a need for more quiet-time, more getting away from it all, more not-doing. That is another mistake in the opposite direction. What the need really is, is simultaneous balance between them both. We have to be able to do both at the same time. Do you think it can be done? It can, if you try. You can be very busy in one aspect of your soul. Now, remember, we are not talking about the physical body. Please. We are talking about the soul, and not even the entire soul but only the feminine soul, feeling and concern; so it is your feeling and concerns that Jesus is talking about here. You can have feelings and concern for what is going on in the world and what you can do about it and your bodily involvement in this and at the same time have feelings and concern about what the Christ-Mind in me has to reveal at this moment. You see? You have to go somewhere with the body and be still and all alone - no. That is not what Jesus is talking about. He is talking about the state of the soul, feelings and concerns; and in that area, we can do both at the same time. I can be concerned about what is going on in the world and yet very relaxed about God is in charge, simultaneously. If I do this, then I am maintaining what we would call created status quo. Stagnant status quo is the other kind, which is not at all this sort of thing.

Jesus is simply telling us that in our feeling nature, in the area of desires and concerns, do not allow your feelings and concerns to become overbalanced on the side of the external expression. This is called anxiety, and it causes a needless state of pain and disturbance. Now, notice something: what if Jesus had said, "All right, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things and you want Mary to go and join you. You call it help, so Mary, go join Martha." Metaphysically, what would we have had there? You would have had the entire feminine nature, Mary and Martha, out here cumbered with too much serving, too much doing, too much externalized concern and attention and no part of the soul left in subjective contact with the Christ-Mind, a very unhealthy state; and if it is maintained too long in the soul, it will soon manifest itself its kind in body, especially in that part of the body called the nervous system.

You have this delightful spectacle of "nervous breakdown" and extreme exhaustion and depletion, unnecessary. The only reason those things occur is not" because my husband does not treat me right" but because I have allowed all my feelings and concerns to worry about how my husband treats me. Mary has left the place of contact with the Christ-Mind, so everybody is out here worrying and cumbering; and the individual, then, gets into a very bad state. Restore the soul balance first, return your feelings and desires in their proper proportion. The more interior of your feminine nature, Mary, had that in constant contact with the Christ-Presence or spiritual awareness. The Martha aspect of your feminine nature should be allowed to do her thing. You should have concerns, feelings, and involvements for whatever out here that you feel is valid and useful; and in that way, the needful thing is maintained, balance of the feminine soul.

Text of the original transcript of last two paragraphs of p.190 through the next to last paragraph of p.192.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-06-2014