Dear Sisters and Brothers –
Scripture is messing with me again. More specifically, Jesus is messing with me.
Last week we had the so called prodigal son spend his entire inheritance in loose living, only to be upstaged by an even more Prodigal ( = extravagant, lavish, excessive) Father. I think it was Ann Lamott who said, “Grace always bats last.” Yup. With the bases loaded. And hits a home run. Every time. In Jesus Christ God holds nothing back.
Apparently the lectionary wants us to grapple with extravagant giving again this week as we meet another spendthrift (I always thought the word meant stingy or miserly, but it too means generous, extravagant) – this time in the form of Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who takes a vial of super expensive perfume and pours the whole thing on Jesus feet and wipes them with her hair. A little over the top, don’t you think? His disciples thought so. Well, actually only one of them did. Um, it was Judas. Judas hated the waste. But Jesus made it clear Mary was doing the right thing.
In response to this text a friend of my confessed: “My tendency is to idolize restraint.” Me too. I’m pretty frugal. I opt for moderation. Do the prudent thing. Hold back a little in reserve. If I really sang that old timey hymn, I Surrender All, it might sound more like--
Some to Jesus I surrender
See what I mean: Jesus is messing with me.
Read through the text in John 12:1-8 + 9-11 a couple times and see how if it might be messing with you, too: notice what it stirs up in you; notice your reactions, your questions. And let’s talk about it together on Sunday.
Grace and peace,