Day Seven of Lent

On the other hand! We live in a country polarized, politically, economically, and socially.  Demonstrations and presentation of opposing viewpoints is common.  Mark sets his story of the Passion in a culture of polarization also.  The religious are preparing for Passover.  The Romans are trying to control the masses.  The religious authorities are looking for a way to arrest Jesus “by stealth and kill him” because they are afraid of a demonstration. Some, on the other hand, are welcoming him into their home and showing their love and devotion.

           As the tension mounts, Jesus is spending his evenings outside Jerusalem, in Bethany, in the home of Simon the Leper this evening.  It is assumed Simon is someone Jesus healed and has returned to his home and invited Jesus in.  The authorities seem to be afraid and are trying to control the future while others like Simon are welcoming Jesus.  Into this setting walks an unknown woman, not a man, of unknown status, and certainly without authority.  In her hand she carries an alabaster jar of perfume that she uses to anoint Jesus’ head.  Her love, her heart obedience, her lack of fear of social opinion is remembered and recorded,

         As we remember we are dust and are going to dust, this nameless, generous woman, willing to show her love and act on her devotion is noticed and reminds us we are important.  Some of the men object to the extravagant waste but Jesus defends her.  Her act is important to him and she is remembered for it.  So what do we carry in our hands today?  It may not be a jar of perfume.  Perhaps we despair that anyone knows our name or notices our presence and certainly our thoughts and our life will not be broadcast on the evening news.  It is easy to see ourselves as grasshoppers in our own eyes.  But Jesus calls this woman’s act of devotion “beautiful”.  “She did what she could (14:8).”  We may not have an expensive jar of perfume, it may only be a mop to clean up a mess or arms to enfold a crying child but when we do what we can for love of Jesus, he notices.  Let us take heart today that even though we might be unknown and powerless in the social narrative of our world, our acts of love and devotion to serve Jesus are noticed and remembered.  What do you carry in your hand today?  Blessings as you use it.

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