On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Greek Study Luke 12:13-21

Greek Study Luke 12:13-21

v13 διδασκαλε "teacher" - The appropriate address for a Rabbi.
τω αδελφω (ος) "[tell my ] brother" – a dative of indirect object, the word here is used  of a sibling not fellow believer.
μερισασθαι (μεριζω) aor. inf. "to divide" -  infinitive expressing an object clause, the content of the command that the man wishes Jesus to issue.
την κληρονομιαν (α) "the inheritance" - portion, part, division.

v14 ανθρωπε (ος) voc. "Man" - this response implies disapproval.
κατεστησεν (καθιστημι) aor. "appointed" – an idiom, "What makes you think it’s any of my business?" 
μεριστην (ης ου) "[a judge or] arbiter" – literally the one who divides Jesus doesn't  repudiate his authority in such matters, rather he assert that is in the business of  promoting the worth of God's life, not material life.

15a Advice: Jesus warns the two intended litigants of the danger of avarice. Interestingly, there is nothing in the dispute to hint at avarice other than Jesus' interpretation. 
ορατε και φυλασσεσθε "Be on guard" - two imperatives together serve to make the  warning emphatic.
πλεονεξιας (α) "greed" – covetousness or the desire to have more than is needed, This  saying highlights the problem of avarice, but the parable highlights the issue of ultimate  security. Avarice may well be the motivation that blinds a person to their need for a  security transcending the imminent (I think there might be a parabolic teaching here for  our current politics?). Someone overly focused on the issue of their inheritance, driven by  avarice, may fail to notice the offer of eternal inheritance. 

v15b A saying on possessions, v15b. The point being made in the saying is that real life, as  opposed to just existence, is a gift of God. Given its awkward syntax, Luke may have  condensed two sayings into one, or possibly they were condensed during oral  transmission: a) life is not found in abundance b) life is not found in possessions. Yet, it  seems more likely that the saying is complete in itself, but has been condensed over time.  The prepositional phrase εκ των υπαρχοντων αυτω, "from the things being possessed  by him" serves to complement the infinitive περισσευειν, "to be satisfied ", so  explaining the source of the satisfaction, lit. "his life is not when someone is satisfied  by possessions".
οτι for, because. expressing cause, for life does not consist in possessions".
η ζωη (η) "the life" What "life" is intended here? Scholars suggest "neither physical life  nor spiritual life, but authentic life. If physical life were intended we would expect
πσυχη, when the NT uses ζωη, it tends to end up meaning eternal or spiritual life. So,  "real life" is not found in objects, but in relationships, especially to God and his will. 
περισσευειν (περισσευω) pres. inf. "abundance" - have enough. The sense may be "to  have in abundance", but given the drift of the parable, the word may take the meaning  "to have more than enough", which leads to the idea of a life that is full, complete,  satisfied, content with των υπαρχοντων (υπαρχω) pres. part. "[his] possessions
v16 The parable of the rich fool, v16-20. The point of this teaching parable is simple enough,  particularly as we have its application in v21: "God alone is Lord of life, and a person  truly lives only when they are rich toward God .
ευφορησεν (ευφορεω) aor. "produced a good crop" - fruitful.

v17 διελογιζετο (διαλογιζομαι) imperf. "he was reasoning” the imperfect is durative  expressing an ongoing debate.
ποιησω (ποιεω) aor. subj. fut. "[what] shall I do".

v18 καθελω (καθαιρεω) fut. "I will demolish [my barns]
μειζονας (μεγας) comp. adj. "bigger ones"
τα αγαθα adj. "[my] good things - adjective functions as a substantive.

v19 τη ψυχη (η) dat. "[I'll say] to my soul [self]" – a dative of indirect object "Soul" in the  sense of one's inner being (self). The literal translation, "I will say to my soul, Soul, you  have plenty ...", is unnecessary. This word is again used in v20, where it is often  translated "life". 
κειμενα (κειμαι) pres. part. "laid up" - participle is adjectival.
αναπαυου (αναπαυω) pres. imp. "take it easyrelax.
ευφραινου (ευφραινω) pres. imp. "be of good cheer."  
αφρων adj. "fool" – vocative; one who cannot see the logic of a situation, often used of a  godless person. The farmer's foolishness probably does not lay with his failure to fulfill  his moral responsibility to care of the needs of others, he is in fact managing his farm  wisely. His foolishness is his failure to include God in the plans for his life. 
ταυτη τη νυκτι dat. "this very night" – a temporal dative for emphatic construction.
την ψυχην (η) "your life" - see above, an emphatic by position.
απαιτουσιν (απαιτεω) pres. "will be demanded" – asked back. The agents are possibly  angels acting on behalf of God; grim reapers or a God Himself  or just a circumlocution  "God demands a return" (Danker).  Message: your life is on loan.
τινιÄdat. pro. "then who [will get]α pro. "what".

v21 The punch-line ουτως "this [is how it will be] with ο θησαυριζων (θησαυριζω "the one who stores up thingsεαυτω dat. "for himself".
πλουτων (πλουτεω) pres. part. "be rich εις "toward [God]" a referential sense, "with reference to God". Often seen as parallel to "treasure in heaven", v33. Jeremias draws out its meaning by arguing that the foolish man heaps up wealth to himself, while the wise man " entrusted wealth to God", i.e. uses it in a way approved by God. Nolland rightly identifies the issue as one of direction. To possess real authentic life, life that is eternal, as oppose to transient shadows, requires us "to be rich in a Godward direction", rather than rich with this world's things. The person "who amasses worldly wealth, but who in God’s sight has no riches at all, is left clutching at shadows.

Greek Study Luke 11:1-13

Greek Study Luke 11:1-13

v1 και εγενετο (γινομαι) aor. "once upon a time".
προσευχομενον (προσευχομαι) pres. part. "praying" - a present periphrastic  construction, underlining the durative aspect of the verb.
εν τοπω τινι "in a certain place" –an indefinite location (note previo0us “certain village” so it could be a wlel-known place, a literalry way of saying “it goes without saying that he was praying and where he was praying”.)
των μαθητων (ης ου) gen. "[one] of his disciples" διδαζον (διδασκω) aor. imp. "teach [us]" - imperative aorist indicating urgency.
προσερχεσθαι (προσερχομαι) pres. inf. "to pray" - The request is prompted by the  fact that the disciples once again finding Jesus at prayer.

v2 Πατερ (πατηρ) voc. "Father" an affectionate use, maybe "Daddy", although an adult would not use this word in the childish manner. Such an intimate address to Yahweh is revolutionary, although there are some OT precedents; eg, Ps.89:26, Jer. 3:4, 19. Jesus taught his disciples to address God as "our Father", but never included himself in this. In Luke Jesus always addresses God as "my Father."
αγιασθητω (αιαζω) aor. pas. imp. "hallowed be" - revered, glorified, sanctified. The aorist indicates a past eschatological action with ongoing  recognition.
το ονομα (α ατος) "[your] name"  as in the commandments
η βασιλεια (α) "[your] kingdom" - Most commentators understand the kingdom of God in the sense of "God's righteous rule" or eschatological rule of God through Christ. The phrase "kingdom of God" is used by Luke 31 times, "kingdom" alone is used 6.
ελθετω (ερχομαι) aor. imp. "come" - be inaugurated although the kingdom, in the sense of God's eschatological reign - the sense here is likely to be realized.

v3 διδου (διδωμι) pres. imp. "give" - present tense is durative, so "continually give."
το καθ ημεραν "with each day" - "day by day."
τον επιουσιον adj. "daily" - remembering the provision of Manna for Israel? In the NT the provision is not so much physical bread as spiritual eg. the gifts of the Spirit. Other interpretations have been suggested and tend to be based on the use of "daily", a word that remains somewhat a mystery. 

v4 αφες (αφιημι) aor. imp. "forgive" - the aorist imperative encapsulates the whole of the action and therefore leans toward an eschatological forgiveness. For the daily forgiveness of sins an imperfective tense would have been used.
αυτοι "we ourselves” – for emphasis
αφιομεν (αφιημι) pres. "forgive" - durative so "practice forgiveness".
οφειλοντι (οφειλω) pres. part. "who sins against" – NOT debts, the word "debt" and "sin" were interchangeable for Second Temple Jews, not in classical Greek. This is why Luke replaces Matthew's "debts" with "sins".
μη εισενεγκης (εισφερω) aor. subj. "lead us not" – a prohibitive subjunctive that forms a prohibition covering not the commencement of an action as in "do not begin to", but the whole of the action as in "do not let us be overcome by..."
πειρασμον (ος) "temptation" The request is not that we be spared tests, since tests are promised, but that we not succumb to them. 

v5 κιχρημι aor. imp. "lend" - allow me to have the use of…"

v7 κακεινος "the one [inside]" – a derogatory or sarcastic reference.
αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. "answers" -attendant circumstance participle  expressing action accompanying the main verb "may say", pleonastic (redundant).
μη ... παρεχε (παρεχω) pres. imp. "don't bother" - durative expressing  ongoing trouble. The image is a small house where opening the door will wake everyone.
μοι dat. pro. "me" - to/for me. Dative of indirect object / interest, disadvantage.
ου δυναμαι pres. "I am not able” possibly stronger; "I won't
ναστας (ανιστημι) aor.  part. "get up".

v8 αναστας (ανιστημι) aor. part. "[he will not] rise up and [give]".
δια το + inf. "because of [friendship]" – on account of...
την αναιδειαν (α) "shameless audacity"  a hapax legomenon. A disputed translation which is why numerous translations propose: "persistence", "boldness", "shamelessness" in the sense that making such a demand at midnight is any of those. The illustration does not teach that the man in bed is supposed to represent God; this is a sermon illustration. The point is if a friend will comply with a difficult request (even belatedly) what more can you expect of God?
εγερθεις (εγειρω) aor. pas. part. "he will surely get up" – literally “rise from bed”.

v9 αιτειτε (αιτεω) pres. imp. "ask" - an ongoing process, "make it your habit to ask".
δοθησεται (διδωμι) fut. pas. "it will be given" - a theological passive - God as agent.

v10 α αιτων (αιτεω) pres. part. "[everyone] who asks" - the one asking.
λαμβανει (λαμβανω) pres. "receives" is iterative, expressing repeated  action. 
τω κρουοντι (κρουω) dat. pres. part. " the one knocking
ανοιγησεται (ανοιγω) fut. pas. "[it] will be opened" - a theological passive.

v11 αιτησει (αιτεω) fut. "if [your son] asks for" - deliberative future. The original construction was possibly a Semitic conditional sentence with the apodosis in the form of a question, "if any father among you is asked by his son for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead "?  The syntax of the sentence is difficult, as if Luke got lost in the grammar. 
ιχθυν (υς υος) "a fish" – or eel

v13 διδοναι (διδωμι) pres. inf. "[know] how to give".
ποσω μαλλον "how much more" - the key to understanding the passage as a whole. ο εξ ουρανου "[your Father] in heaven"
πνευμα αγιον "the Holy Spirit" - as opposed to Matthew's "good gifts." Luke it more about the "Holy Spirit" 

τοις αιτουσιν (αιτεω) pres. part. "[to] those asking"

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Abraham's Barter over Sodom and Gomorrah and a bit of Luke 11

Would you like some tea?

“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

C. E. Murphy writes: “In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you're sure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. . . Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. 
In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea.
I liked the Irish way better.”  (Urban Shaman)

Hospitality is not a transaction it is an interaction. American tea, to use Murphy, is a transaction while Irish tea is an interaction. The tea is irrelevant even though eventually one gets around to it. The interaction is one of mutual assurance. It is a careful dance meant to solidify bonds, work on mutual understanding, and assure commitments. The tea is good in the end but the ritual, if it is that, leads to a sharing of hearts. It leads to a mutuality of purpose of which the tea is a tangible sign. 
We consider the rest of the story of Abraham and the visitors at the oak of Mamre, a text rich in the traditions of hospitality and patronage is set against the teaching on prayer from Luke 11 in our lectionary.
Prayer and Hospitality have things in common. All the factors listed above for hospitality are active in prayer as well. What it is that you pray for is really less important than you might think. The haggling, the give and take, the coming to a mutual mind is the real heart of prayer. 
Our story from Abraham is really not clear about a simple thing Abraham prays for: Does God have a change of mind? It would seem so. Perhaps there were not 10 righteous  people in Sodom and Gomorra. Or maybe there were but God made them leave. That is the story of Lot’s flight from Sodom after all. To be honest, God knowing the content of human hearts ought be assumed to know exactly how much or little righteousness there was. Yet, knowing that, God does not cut the conversation short. The retort: “Abraham, give it up, there are not 20 righteous souls in Sodom,” is not in the scripture. 
On the other hand, God does have a change of heart in the story. Genesis 18:17-18 shows the Lord rethinking the depth of his relationship to this Abraham: “The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?”
Did Abraham change? Well, that depends on what your definition of“tea” might be. In Genesis 18 we are in the middle of Abraham’s story. Ishmael has been conceived and born. Ishmael is Abraham and Sarah’s attempt to bring in the promise by their own means and actions. Here, somehow without warning, the birth of Isaac is foretold and it will happen. It is not the “tea” that Abraham had negotiated about but it was the “tea” that was actually in his heart: Are you real or are you an illusion of mine? Am I doing this by myself or are you behind the things that happen? Is my discipleship and your purpose aligned? Will there be a kingdom with children more numerous than the stars? The “tea” is that there is indeed a covenant, a tangible relationship between the patriarch and matriarch and the Lord most high with mutuality of purpose of which the Isaac is a tangible sign.
Prayer is an act of hospitality. It is not as if God can only work in a place of welcome — ask Sodom about that. Luther — the early Luther who was still sympathetic to the mystics — likened Baptism to the marriage of soul and Lord who then took residence in the heart of the believer, taking on the believers filth and sin and giving glory and obedience in return. It is called the Joyous exchange. (Freedom of a Christian) In hospitality to that presence, goes the thinking of an early Luther and the mystic, the outer human being will be changed by the workings of the Lord within. 
So, it was not your turn to use the community oven in the village, but wouldn’t you know, friends showed up and you had to host them. Your friend next door had gotten to bake that day. Where will you get bread? (Luke 11:5-8) Again, it is in the interaction a symbol of larger hospitality is given: He will get up and give as much as needed. The hospitality that is prayer is not individual it is communal as well.They will all rise to give hospitality because by doing so, some have hosted angels.
Today, whenever disaster and human created terror occur, calls for “thoughts and prayers” are made and answered by many with harsh rebukes that thoughts and prayers mean nothing and are merely an excuse for inaction. “Speed the plough, I wait no more for fire from God!” And what will  be the result? Will we have another Ishmael? Will we have another Issac?

Will we get some damned tea?

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mary and Martha, The alternate universe bible version

The Bible in an alternate Universe

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.” — Mother Teresa

The Samaritan got off his ride. The donkey had just stopped in the place it was standing now and had begun to stare in the direction of a human shape lying by the side of the road.
It was a hot, dusty day and the Samaritan was parched. He hesitated a moment and walked over to a hulk of probably dead human body by the side of the path. Just then the unfortunate traveler let out a faint breath.
“Darn it!” the Samaritan huffed under his breath, “You are alive and now I suppose it is up to me somehow to take care of this mess.” 
He looked at the sky: “I know, love thy neighbor and all that stuff, I am not stupid.” he muttered angrily. “I’ll be happy to love my neighbor if he was just a bit less needy than this one, you hear?” 
God did not reply.
The Samaritan went to his animal and searched the saddle bags. He had wine to clean the wounds and oil to treat them afterwards. 
“I was going to use this myself, you know,” he said scoldingly in the direction of the ambushed traveler, “Oil and Wine don’t just happen, they cost me dear in the purse, but if the Lord has need of me doing this for you, I guess . . . “ 
He looked up, but God said nothing.
He walked back over to the victim who tried to move just then. The Samaritan grabbed his staff firmly and pointed the tip at the man and let out a threatening yell, but after a few hostile gesture with his staff and only the echo of his own voice to be heard he carried on. 
“O well, I suppose you are down after all, but don’t you try anything!”
He began to clean the wounds. The downed traveler moaned as the Samaritan cleaned his woulds. “Don’t be such a wimp! Suck it up. Be a man about this.”
“What are you doing traveling this road if you can’t even suck in a  little pain. I had much worse and still got myself home all by my lonesome, I have you know.” The donkey kicked the dust with its hoofs and snorted. The sun continued to burn hot as is was the 6th hour.
After he treated the man the Samaritan looked around. What was he to do now? He could not just stay there but the man in the ditch was giving almost no sign that he might be able to rise, much less walk on to safety. 
The Samaritan sighed: “So, now I have to get you out of this mess. The road is steep and guess who will have to walk it now? You better have had a darn good reason to travel here, is all I can say right now.”
He dragged the man out of the ditch and began to lift him onto the donkey. The animal winced as the man was lifted unto it.
“Darn you, help out!” The Samaritan shouted, “don’t expect me to lift you as total dead weight.” 
“I tell you, if you weren’t as fat as you are you probably would a had the skill and power to fight and fend for yourself. Do you actually ever take care of yourself? Do you know how to travel and fight? I bet not!”
It took a while and a lot of ill speech but the Samaritan got the man tied to the back of the donkey, and the three of them, Samaritan, donkey, and the man who they had dragged out of the ditch set off on the road.
The Samaritan walked with an angry slog and a dark countenance by the side of the animal. The donkey kept an obedient, purposeful gate and kept its head down. The traveler moaned now and again much to the Samaritan’s dismay. “O, shut up will you,” he muttered once or twice. “You’ll be alright. No thanks to you.” 
They arrived at a hostel by the road in the heat of the 9th hour. There would be enough daylight for the Samaritan to finish his journey today. 
He opened the door and yelled for the keeper who appeared promptly. Though he was very hospitable, the Samaritan was having none of the usual courtesy that was customary. His day had been a wreck, his wine was gone and his oil was running low. He was thirsty beyond reason and tired from the journey. “Get this man off my animal. Now! I should not have to do everything, you know,” the Samaritan commanded. 
A negotiation followed and it was agreed that the Samaritan was going to actually pay for the stranger to stay there. At some point the Samaritan accused the inn keep of being in cahoots with the robbers to make money off the God fearing travelers that helped the victims by the road. But the keeper had let the accusation go.
That all done, the Samaritan stomped over to his animal and rode off.
As he went along he looked up at the sky and begun to mutter: “Love your neighbor. Well I did it. And what have I to show for it? Huh? Huh!? Happy?””
God did not reply.
He arrived at the house of an acquaintance with whom he had dealings and who extended hospitality to him. They discussed the events of the day. “Strange you should come upon him,” said the host. “Strange?” the Samaritan broke into anger:  “I tell you, I saw at least two others who left on the road before me this morning, right ahead of me. Did they stop and help? No! They left it to me. I’d give them a piece of my mind if I ever meet them again.”
Calmer he continued: “But they were from Jerusalem and you know what that lot of scum is like. Yea, it is left to you and me to be the “Neighbor" to others. They must not read the Law of Moses in Jerusalem. I tell you, if it wasn’t for people like me, no one would know that there is a living God.”
The night gave him little rest but the next day, having done business, he was on the road home. 
The donkey had trotted faithfully when it suddenly stopped and looked over to the side of the road. The Samaritan looked up and said: “Really!?” 
God said nothing. 

 After he had finished telling his parable, Jesus went to the house of Mary and Martha.
Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 
But Martha was busy with by her many tasks, making preparations for everyone and creating quite a racket. So Mary came to the Lord and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has chosen to work in the kitchen making all kinds of noise that is disturbing your lesson? Tell her to stop and sit with us.” 
But the Lord answered: “ . . . 

Well? What do you think he said?

The humble Love of God is the key to praise.
Repentant praise is the key to obedience.
Gracious obedience is the key to mercy.
Selfless mercy is the key to the love of God.

Patient love is the key to the Love of God. — P.K.

Abraham at the oak of Mamre

There is a German concept known as “Gemütlichkeit.” The word “comfort” or even the non-word “comfortness” really do not grasp what it entails. The basic idea is that one is in a state of comfort, contentment, and security in the company of others who cherish one’s presence — even if the others are the angels — and that one, for the time being, is not in the need of anything. It is a state where the next thing that must be done is done in due time but in comfortable pace and the thing that will require our all and want to be done in haste are kept in the future when they will be done with all the energy they deserve, but that time his not now and neither are they being thought about.
The Danish call this “Hygge,” and it is a lifestyle that authors describe as “the quiet life.” (Meik Wiking) In either culture it is a time and place of hospitality and peace, contentment and charity. The Portuguese have a similar concept that is always connected with family togetherness. Often across all the cultures mentioned, Gemütlichkeit happens on Sunday afternoon.
Gemütlichkeit is what happens at Oma’s (grandma’s) house. It is enjoyed by those who enter and it is created by those who have the gift for it but it is a communal event because both sides contribute to the atmosphere and both sides can break it, though Oma is usually not the one. More about that later.
Gemütlichkeit is the hospitality that Hebrews 13:2 speaks of when it urges that hospitality be not neglected because being the catalyst for it leads to even angels, and in Abraham’s case even God, being hosted. 
Maybe true hospitality always includes the God of Heaven and Earth in the midst of them. Maybe that is why hospitality is commanded and commended to Israel, (ex.: Leviticus 19) and urged on Christians. (ex: Ro 16:23, 1Ti 5:10, 1Pt 4:9, 3Jn 1:8)
The story in Genesis 18 gives no hint if the visitors were intentionally sent to Abraham but then, is anything heavenly an accident? The text reads as if Abraham is surprised by the presence that suddenly stand before him. 
His hospitality seems to be expansive. Does he know whom he is hosting? Hebrews 13:2 seems to be of the mind that he did not but was just that kind of host. 
As Gemütlichkeit plays out cherished, intimate, and closely held details of life are shared and disclosed. The birth of Isaac is announced. Sarah’s heart is disclosed which then leads to the name of the child. (Gn 21:4-17)
And God’s heart is also disclosed: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (18:17) The thought continues in an expression of trust and forbearance: “since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?” (18:18) After that, the Lord discloses his anger at Sodom and Gomorra and the famous bartering scene between Abraham and the Lord follows. That barter is in the context of the event of hospitality, of the meal set before the visitor, of the conversations had and the intimacy extended. 
But back to Oma for a moment: Somehow the old time grandmotherly hospitality always seems effortless. It appears as if planned out long ago and set in motion when the dear guests appear. Who knows what ingredient of hospitality are safely hid in the cupboards and cabinets at an old German Oma;s house. (Don’t ask, it took hours to clean it up when time sadly came to clean up the house.)
Omas, like Abraham, are somehow ready for the unexpected but beloved guest. Somewhere there is a young sheep to cook and there is enough flower for bread somehow. Above all there is the will to make this happen, to be part of a peaceful, joyful and refreshing time of togetherness that everyone can lose and find themselves in, maybe even God. (When two or three are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them.)
Martha is not an “Oma” and her house is not ready to be “gemütlich,” when Jesus and the disciples arrive. (Luke 11) Maybe that is unfair to her. She is doing what must be done to obey the commands of the law and the example of the Abraham and Sarah. She seems to have what is needed to make it happen. It is not really against the grain to want help in preparing things. What violates the moment, however, is the demand made of others. Oma accepts help — often reluctantly — but she does not demand it. 
Church is something all of us do. It is gemütlich when all things happen in grace and peace. It is gemütlich when frowns are absent and when things happen seemingly effortlessly. It is gemütlich when all gathered are truly interested in the lives of all others not out of idle curiosity but as a giving offering of God’s opulent presence that each can give to the other — even if one is among them who right then has not grace to give as it appears to be the case with Martha.

It is the presence of something higher and more important, even the Lord, that makes this happen, though it can be sabotaged. On our part, as those who wish church to be happening, attentive readiness seems to be the necessary stance. We al will look up in the heat of the day and the travelers will be standing at the tent. At that time, all hands must longingly be on deck and ready to turn the winches of welcome. And “Gemütlichkeit” in a heavenly sense can happen.