3 April 2022
Bible readings for today
Daylight Savings time ends at 2am on Sunday
God, all love comes from you;
Mary’s perfume on Christ’s feet,
His blood spent upon the cross,
signal your extravagance:
warm our hearts with your love;
deliver us from all meanness of spirit;
make us generous in all we are;
through Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Jesus Anointed with Perfume (John 12:1-8)
Rev. Annette Cater, from Tawa Anglicans, leads us through week five in our Lenten Sermon Series.
The story of Mary annointing Jesus' feet prior to the week of his Passion is a powerful one. How much love is enough? What do we do in the face of such extravagance? Archdeacon Michael Godfrey is joined this week by Alec Clark, Anne van Gend, and a fresh and energised visitor from the Diocese of Brisbane: Nicki Colledge.
A reflection from Reverend Rebecca Apperley, Newlands-Paparangi Anglican Parish
What’s your instinctive response when you witness deep emotion? In our gospel reading this week (John 12:1-18) we are dropped in as viewers to a dinner scene. Mary has broken a large, expensive jar of perfume and is using it to wash Jesus’ feet with her hair. With her hair. It’s a moment of intense emotion offered from Mary and accepted by Jesus. It’s an action which is replete with the symbolism of burial and grief, and a moment of deep emotion that is so intense you feel a visceral reaction to it.
Judas’ reaction to this act of radical generosity is to remonstrate Mary and Jesus for their wastefulness. I wonder if one of the conflicted emotions lying behind Judas’ reaction is jealousy? Not fiscal jealousy necessarily, but more jealousy at the intimacy of relationship of this moment. Jealous of the uninhibitedness of Mary’s response to Jesus, and of Jesus’ acceptance of who Mary is. Jealous that Mary seems to understand some of what who Jesus is, and what may happen to him.
Tackling the darker side of our souls is sometimes called ‘going downstairs to look around the basement’. As we begin to journey with Jesus to the cross, there is an invitation in this reading to explore our reactions. Would we be prepared to demonstrate our response to Jesus so publicly? Do we let ourselves be loved? Do we see ourselves as lovable? Is there part of us that thinks that God’s love is for others and not for us? Do we feel like we are spectators, not participants?
A beautiful image from the Visio Lectio project, created by the Anglican Diocese of Auckland. © Sarah West. All Rights reserved, shared with permission.