Vicar’s Reflection: Ordinary Sunday 16, 21 July 2019
This is an age of distraction. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, bright colours, blinking lights and loud sounds; the more these “pop out” from their surroundings, the more likely they are to capture our attention. Our closest companions in life, our smartphones, are a growing source of distraction and concern. Cell-phone distracted drivers account for many road incidents and deaths. According to NZTA, in 2018, distraction was a factor in 155 serious injury crashes and 12 fatal crashes. There have been several tragic incidents where joggers using earbuds for their exercise soundtrack have been killed by trains or traffic simply because they did not hear approaching danger. Distraction scatters our attention. We may pride ourselves on being able to ‘multi-task’ but most people need focussed attention to do anything well. This is the point Jesus makes (Luke 10.38-42) about Mary and Martha. Jesus chides Martha not for providing hospitality or preparing a meal for her guests, but for being distracted. Mary is praised for her focussed attention and for giving priority to learning from Jesus whose time with them was to be short. Distraction is not therefore a new issue. The sources of distraction may greater today and louder, brighter and flashier but the challenge of being rightly focussed in how we use our time and live our lives is the same. Time spent in prayer, worship and quiet reading is not wasted. These spiritual disciplines are needed as much today as ever.