Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
The Currency of Relationship
In his book Holy Currencies: 6 Blessings for Sustainable Missional Ministries, Eric Law uses today’s Gospel to illustrate part of what he calls the “holy currency of relationship.” He asks us to think about the difference between a “Martha-like” ministry, which he characterizes as “task-driven,” and a “Mary-like” ministry, which he calls “relationship-driven.”
Jesus, who has been welcomed as a friend into Martha’s home, uses the “currency” of the relationship he has with Martha to have a deeper conversation about what her needs really are. Does Martha really need help with the work, or does she need help slowing down, listening, and connecting with others in meaningful ways?
We too are called to have challenging conversations in respectful, kind ways. That can happen only when we have healthy relationships in community.
A relationship-driven ministry focuses on listening. It takes time and effort to build trust as we listen to each other through a variety of connections and experiences. We are called to build healthy, respectful, loving relationships within our faith communities. In turn, we are called to build those relationships in the greater community of God’s world, so that we might serve in Christlike ways.
Eric Law asks, “What would our [church] programs look like if we were focused on building relationships as well as getting the job done?” He believes they would look more like Mary . . . being with others rather than doing for others, listening to others rather than debating or trying to convert others, sharing stories rather than giving instructions, building friendships rather than only accomplishing tasks.
How does the “holy currency” of relationship bless the ministry of your church and community?
Staci Marrese, pastor, Common Grace, Madison, Wisconsin
and community relations pastor to the Eastside of Madison