To live within abundance.
There was a woman in the Gospel of Mark who didn’t have a name. And yet, Jesus told the truth when he said that his story would never be told without hers.
Here’s the story, in case you don’t remember. We read it out loud on Passion Sunday. Jesus was hanging out at the house of a leper while the chief priests and scribes were actively plotting his murder. (Yep, read it again. Outcasts and murder plots already.)
He was sitting at the table, eating, when this woman – a nameless nobody, appears out of nowhere, cracks open a stone jar. That had be loud, and probably messy – and then pours it on his head. Yeah, she did that while he was eating at a leper’s house and people were plotting ways to kill him – stealthily.
The scribes were searching for stealth, but not her. She was living out loud. She knows there’s more than enough in God’s kingdom. Enough room. Enough love. Enough resources. Enough joy. Enough hope. Enough tomorrows, or whatever. She is on board with Jesus in a way that nobody else is because she understands living in God’s abundance. It is real to her.
She took the perfume and poured it on his head. This stuff was worth more than 300 denarii. Translation: A denarius is a day’s wage for a simple skilled job – think McDonalds. So, that perfume she dumped on his head was worth almost a year’s wages for a common worker. She was okay with that because she knew that God’s kingdom is one of abundance, not scarcity.
By all outward appearances, everything in this situation was scarce. Time was short. Good will was lacking between Jesus and the scribes. Health and acceptance were nowhere to be found (except in Jesus) at the leper’s house. It is amazing he had a house at all. Yet despite all those appearances, this woman saw plenty. She was free to praise, to hope, and to be extravagant with the signs of her love. She did what she could – and what she did was believe that there was enough, because new life was coming. New life was already there, in some way!
It was such an act of faith that she will never be forgotten.
Sometimes I am tempted to give her a name – some type of posthumous respect. And yet, maybe it is fitting that she is the nameless nobody who appears out of nowhere with a really loud jar. That’s part of her abundance. Even now, she can make room in herself for any of us to identify with her, to step up like her and make some noise in praise of new life.
So, even now, even in the depths of our darkness and sorrow in Holy Week as we make those final timid steps to stand with each other at the foot of the cross – what does abundance and praise look like in your life? Where can you live out loud because you know that new life is not only on its way, but already here? Where are you looking darkness, with all of the charm and stealth, in the eye and making it flinch as you break open your jar of love for the world? Yeah. We can do that during Holy Week. Imagine how much better it will be during Easter…
See ya’ along the way to the cross!
Maundy Thursday Worship, March 29th at 7:30pm
Good Friday Worship with cantata, March 30th at 7:30pm
And, I’ll make sure to catch up with you at the empty tomb, too – no foolin’ I’ll be there!
April 1st: Breakfast and Easter Egg Hunt at 9am (the breakfast is a fundraiser for our awesome bible camp kids). Then worship at 10:30!