Sunday, April 07 2019
“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:1-3).
Barbara Brown Taylor, calls this display by Mary "an act so lavish that it suggests another layer to her prophecy: there will be nothing prudent or economical about the death of this man, just as there has been nothing prudent or economical about his life. In him, the extravagance of God's love is made flesh. In him, the excessiveness of God's mercy is made manifest."
As we walk to the cross with Jesus this Lenten season, I ask you to ponder the sacrifice that God gave to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many of us will get caught up in the busyness of the Easter season. Many of us have lots of things to do at church and home. Please take some time and meditate about Mary. Pray that you may know the unfathomable love and unbounded mercy that God has for you. The twelve disciples will continue to act like knuckleheads, missing the whole point of the walk to the cross because their own expectations close their minds to something new happening before their very eyes. “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19). Again and again the prophet Isaiah speaks of the message of God. Again and again, the people can’t imagine that the path ahead may be anything, but the path behind us.
Mary has developed a deeper level of relationship with Jesus because she sits and listens to the words of her teacher. Listen to the words of the Gospel closely, but change your expectations slightly. The Holy Spirit will come to us and guide us. Put your faith and trust that God loves us enough to sacrifice his Son for our sins. Turn from your busy life and ponder the extravagance of Mary’s gift. Mary will need strength and courage for all that she will face in the coming weeks. She has seen firsthand the raising of her brother Lazarus. She anoints his feet because she knows deep in her heart that the path of life leads through his death.
We are asked in today’s collect to love what God commands and to desire what God promises. To do that we must turn again to God and listen to the Gospel. There can be no Easter without the cross and we cannot live in Christ unless we are willing to die to ourselves. But, oh the glory that awaits us if we believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We were baptized in water through the Holy Spirit and ate of the body and blood of our Lord. We are anointed in the Holy Spirit, given the peace that passes all understanding, and we will receive all God’s promises of abundant and eternal life. Let us open the life gate by confessing that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Let us give glory to God for he has done great things!
In Christ’s love,