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Jul 08, 2018

In Remembrance of Her

In Remembrance of Her

Passage: Mark 14:3-9

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Sacred Characters

Category: Love, kindness

Keywords: kindness, love

This woman reminds us of what an incredible lovely gesture looks like even though we do not know her name.

Scripture

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than an year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly. 

"Leave her alone," said Jesus, "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me." - Mark 14: 3-6

Devotional

In reading this passage this week, I was kept thinking of the phrase, "the more things change the more they stay the same." That critical crowd at that home in Bethany so many years ago? They've been showing up for hundreds of years since then, haven't they? We find them at every party, at every school, at every office water cooler, at every sporting event, and unfortunately, at every church. In fact, these days we can be the lucky recipients of criticism even from people we've never met, who can bless us with their superior opinions as they hide behind a computer screen.

It really is rather fascinating to me how we humans have such a great tendency to find fault in just about any action. And Christians? We often lead the charge. 

In this case, it is this woman's lavish, abundant, grand gesture that causes the crowd to begin their chatter. Surely, her behavior is way over the top? Surely, she realizes what a waste this is? Perhaps she should tone it down a bit? It reminds me of a quote that is prevalent in the sports world which discourages too much enthusiasm and celebration after victories known as the "Act like you've been there." rule. That is, "Play it cool. Don't show too much emotion. Chill out, dude."  

Friends, this woman is literally in the presence of the Son of God. The Messiah. The Savior of the entire world. The One for whom they've been waiting. She is so overcome by being so close to Jesus that she cannot contain her sheer joy and awe. She doesn't think too hard and calculate what the others will think. She isn't going to be careful and measured in her response to this most amazing opportunity. And there ain't no way she's going to play it cool. She gives her very best - the most elaborate display of devotion that she can. 

Jesus's response to the naysayers gives me no end of delight. "Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing for me." 

How 'bout that for some divine back-up?

You and I might not find ourselves in the actual physical presence of Jesus today. But if we look around us? If we really open our eyes to the overwhelmingly lavish abundance of His grace and blessings in our lives, we will realize that we have every right to be lavish and abundant in our response. And we should do so without worrying about what the world tells us is prudent and measured and reasonable. Today, as we remember this unnamed woman, might we go out into the world with an over-the-top, ridiculously, excessive amount of love, kindness, and compassion for His people. It seems to me that this would be the only appropriate way to respond to how extravagantly He has loved us.  

Prayer:

Holy, awesome God. Let us remember this woman's grandest of gestures just as You said we would. Let us emulate her unabashed enthusiasm and love for You by going out into Your world today and filling it up with extravagant love for Your people. Help us to do beautiful things for You so that our lives can become a story worth remembering. Amen. 

Written by Jennifer Skinner, member of Arcola Church and a Texan (Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient, funny husband, and three very impatient, funny boys/ball players. She is also a blogger, The View From Behind Home Plate, who writes about finding extraordinary grace and blessings among the cleats and dirt and testosterone that fill her ordinary days.