Yesterday’s text at church was John 12, the celebration at Mary and Martha’s house after the raising of their brother Lazarus. Again, Martha is in the kitchen, serving. Again, Mary is at the feet of Jesus, this time pouring expensive perfume over his feet. She is sharply reprimanded by Judas as the value of the perfume could have greatly aided poor people (or his pocket as John implies). Jesus responds, “Leave her alone.”
Sr. Wantabee as a Woebegone Lutheran wondered where law and Gospel was found in this passage about extravagence. Slowly the light turned on that Mary’s extravagent love and gift of anointing Jesus for his death made her daily “good deeds” look very miniscual. The story was acting as law in her mind, convicting her of her selfishness. Where was the Gospel, the good news. Walking up the stairs, it dawned on her that the Gospel must of course be in the words of Christ, “Leave her alone.” The Marys and the Marthas are both needed in the church, social justice and pietistic love.
This morning she read in her devotions from Amos, criticizing the false piety of the temple people of his time. Yes they demonstrated religiousity by all their church activity but was there there true concern for the poor. Again she felt condemned as she pondered the commentators question in the shower, “Who would she bless today?” She thought, about who and realized that she would be blessed going about her business. Again the words of Christ rang in her ear, “Leave her alone!” It is not about plotting good deeds. It is about being in a good relationship!