By The Rev. Sam Lloyd
You can feel the tension rising in John 12 as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. But don’t miss the moving moment as the chapter opens, with Jesus at dinner with his close friends—Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. To everyone’s amazement, Mary goes over and pours a jar of expensive perfume oil on Jesus’ feet and then bathes his feet with her hair.
Judas Iscariot, the disciples’ treasurer is outraged: “What a waste! Shouldn’t this be used for the poor?” he demands. ‘No,’ Jesus says, ‘leave her alone. She is anointing me for the burial ahead.’
Mary can’t resist giving Jesus the deepest expression of love she knows. Her response is excessive, over the top, completely unnecessary. Love is wasteful like that.
Extravagance, going for broke, putting our hearts and souls on the line—those are things that don’t come naturally to most of us prudent folks. We like to be measured and careful, especially in things spiritual and religious.
But Jesus has lived God’s love flat out, in ways that will soon have him hanging on a cross. If he were careful he would turn around now and go back to Galilee. But instead he rides on.
He’s going for broke. What a wasteful, extravagant thing to do, for us.
When have you felt called to take a risk, to put yourself out there, for God?
When you watch Jesus put everything on the line for God, what desire does that stir in you to give more, to go further?
Lord Jesus, you gave everything for us; help me to love you with the extravagance of Mary, and to take up my cross and follow you right here in the middle of this day; I ask in your Holy Name. Amen
The Rev. Sam Lloyd, III is priest-in-charge of Trinity Church, Copley Square in Boston