Friday, April 01 2022
“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” (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." We heard last week about the extravagance of the father who celebrated the return of the prodigal son by giving him the finest robe, a ring, and the fatted calf. The point of last week’s Gospel is that the radical love of God is unfathomable and God’s mercy is unbounded. I love the extravagance of our faith during the next couple of weeks. Please try to be a part of it. We pray for the joy and hope of the Lord to fill our hearts. I give thanks to all of you who will work so diligently in the coming weeks. We could not do what we do at St. John’s without you.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes back to the place where he raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. Extravagant moves like bringing people back from the dead are bound to get noticed and Jesus is now considered dangerous and a serious threat to the status quo and the powerful men that benefit from keeping things as they are. We are six days before the Passover and just a few miles from Jerusalem. Jesus knows that his days are numbered and only hopes that his disciples can grasp the situation.
Martha cooks up a nice dinner and Jesus sits down with Lazarus. Mary does her disappearing act and comes back with a costly bottle of sweet smelling ointment that was used for burial. Mary anoints the feet of Jesus and wipes them with her hair. Mary is extravagantly showing her love of Jesus on one of his last few days.
Let us each show hospitality and grace to all those who will visit us over the holiday. On Palm Sunday, our confirmation class will read the passion. Bishop Wolf will be with us at the 10:00 service. Please gather in the Parish Hall before the service so we can process with our palms into the church. On Maundy Thursday, we will have a Seder at 5:30PM on Zoom and at 7:30PM we will have our “normal” Maundy Thursday service with footwashing and the stripping of the altar. On Good Friday, we will have Stations of the Cross at 7:00PM and Good Friday service at 7:30PM. Easter Sunday will be in in the Garden of Blessings at 7:30AM. We will light a fire and bring the light of Christ into our church. The family service is at 9:00AM with an Easter Egg hunt after the service. At 11:00AM we will celebrate Easter with the St. Augustine’s Steel Drum Band. Please join us in person or on zoom for all services except the Seder.
In Christ’s love,