March has been a bit mad this year, largely due to the early date of Easter. This month, I’ve had two family birthdays to celebrate (including my own) and have also been involved in four community events, led four additional Lent Bible studies and lunches and baked for my husband’s retirement celebration and Good Friday church meal on top of all the usual things that make up my week! At times it’s been frantic, and I’ve definitely identified more with Martha than Mary as I have cooked chilli con carne for forty people while ferrying grandchildren to choir concerts (to be fair, my husband did the ferrying, but I provided a picnic lunch whilst everything else was going on!) A two-day break in the Lake District for my birthday was an oasis of calm in the flurry of activity that has made up March 2024. As I write, I still have to cook and prepare for a week’s break to celebrate my middle granddaughter’s birthday, but hopefully April will be more ‘normal.’

A blog I read regularly by the Church of England minister Jamie Franklin quotes Marcus Aurelius as saying.

‘When the force of circumstances causes you, in some sense, to lose your equilibrium, return to yourself with all speed, and never lose the rhythm for longer than you must; for you will be more in control of the measure if you return to it again and again.’

Meditations, Book VI.11

This is good advice. Some days and weeks are, indeed, busier than others, but there has to be an equilibrium in our lives, a rhythm that includes rest and prayer on a regular basis. Jamie goes on to comment, ‘I must find my rest, my refreshment, my peace, my restoration in God. If I don’t do this, I can make myself very busy trying to get stuff done, but my heart is frozen and my mind is tense.’ Busyness is not, of itself, proof of much except busyness. It’s certainly no indication of success or achievement that lasts. The churches in Thyatira and Ephesus were hard-working and busy, but Jesus found plenty that was amiss with their hearts (see Revelation 2). We need to get our priorities right and live by God’s principles (which includes Sabbath rest for restoration and worship). Only then can we hold on to the ‘one thing’ which Mary found and which Jesus commended to Martha. (Luke 10:38-42)