January: A place for her, a space for her, a need for Martha as we gathered
By Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers
On Sunday, Dec. 8, Bethany Lutheran Church sent out two groups of carolers following worship. The first, a delegation of some of Bethany’s finest voices, went to Bethany’s “at home” members in Poulsbo. The report back was that of a delightful
time together, with voices singing in tune, in
harmony, and in the spirit of the story of God’s love
made known in the baby Jesus.
The other group of carolers, in contrast, were led not by fine voices but by yours truly. We ventured to Madison House to sing in a less-polished performance, but what we lacked in musicality we more than made up for in enthusiasm and volume
… we had a number of children with us, after all.
Halfway through our caroling, a woman found her way, via her walker, to the piano next to us. There she sat down, and began to accompany us, without music, without missing a beat, but with wonderful musical flourishes that made us sound good. With her accompaniment, all the Madison House residents joined in. Her name is Martha, and she is 103 years old.
With her accompaniment, all the Madison House residents joined in. Her name is Martha, and she is 103 years old.
My humble guess is that Martha thought we might benefit from some help, in our notes, in our keys, in our pitch. In further reflection I also realize that she understood that she was welcome to join us, to be a part of the song and its message, she felt comfortable contributing her gifts. There was a place for her, a space for her, a need for Martha.
Therein I see a parable for the church, for the community of faith. Parables rarely benefit from explanation, so I will leave it at that, with Martha at the piano, accompanying an off-key pastor.
A Blessed 202 to each of you.