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Monday, August 26, 2013
Today’s Reading | Mark 14:1–11
It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”
While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. (NRSV)
In the early 2000s my grandfather died. It was summertime, and I was working at a camp on the coast of South Carolina. In a whirlwind trip, I met up with my family in Wichita, Kansas, for the funeral.
In the midst of those frantic days and my own foolish youthfulness, there was a powerful moment that unfolded before me that I will never forget. As the service finished, we lined up and walked past the casket for a final good-bye. My dad was in front of me. I watched as he approached. He put his face close to my grandfather, and my dad broke down. His tears were uncontrollable. I stood stunned, watching as my father’s body was overwhelmed with emotion.
It was just a moment, amidst a whirlwind, but it was beautiful—filled with a deep and intimate love. I wanted to know this kind of love.
Our Bible reading today is the same. It sits amidst the whirlwind of Mark’s narrative. Jesus, who is crucifixion bound, appears to know what lies ahead, but most of the others around him do not, and in this moment they are soon to be stunned by what transpires. A woman opens a most expensive bottle of perfume and anoints Jesus’ head with it.
It was just a moment, amidst a whirlwind, but it was beautiful—filled with deep and intimate love. I want to know this kind of love.
Heavenly Father, my pace is frantic and I am living in a rush. By your Holy Spirit, please slow me. Help me to see and experience the beauty that surrounds me. Teach me again today the power of your love. Amen.
Written by Daniel Holladay, Senior High Youth Coordinator
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