Lent: Week Five

“Ah, Holy Jesus”

There-fore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.

United Methodist Hymn # 289 words by Johann Heermann

  John 12:1-8

“Mary took a bound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, wiped them with her hair.  The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  John 12:3

Every Lenten season is an opportunity to recall the great price Jesus paid on behalf of all.  It is a season for prayer and gratitude for the enormous gift of grace.

marymarthawithjesusEven with all my visits to the holy places through the years, I cannot say I have been where Martha and Mary and Lazarus greeted Jesus in their home.  I can imagine a scrumptious meal after Jesus had brought Lazarus back to life.  I can imagine Martha serving and Jesus and a few others gathered at the table.  And I can imagine Mary kneeling to rub Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment….so expensive it cost almost a year’s labor, and the aroma penetrating the whole house.

Mary threw herself in complete abandon before her Savior.  A towel wasn’t good enough.  She dried his feet with her hair because it represented herself.  She offered herself before the one whom she adored.

This Lent perhaps others will be so full of adoration for God that they will forsake dignity to demonstrate that deep love.  Perhaps they will offer themselves in complete abandon.  Christians around the world can join Palestinian Christians in this abandon.

To follow Jesus on the path to life, to live to the glory of God and invite others to do so, to become more perfect in love of God and neighbor, to grow and learn as a spiritual person, this is the purpose of life.  All and everything is about this.

Prayer:  Thank You, Gracious God, for a wondrous love that forgives and redeems.  Thank you for a love that is unswerving even when we do not deserve it.  Amen.

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, United Methodist Bishop representative on the World Council of Churches

Photographs

Olive wood wall is a project of the YWCA in Jerusalem, picture taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown

Mary, Martha and Jesus painting in Bethany church, picture taken by Sara H. Dunlap

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