A Jesus Fragrance (05-10-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 57:8-11
Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Bible Reading: John 12:1-3
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived,
whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honour.
Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume;
she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Fragrances are big business these days, whether it’s aroma therapy, scented candles, scent diffusers (apparently the proper term for the pots with oils and sticks in), perfumes for women or fragrances for men (formerly known as after shave). In their own way all fragrances are evocative of a time, a place or a person. Imperial leather soap always evokes in me memories of my grandmother. They can also affect the mood and atmosphere in a place.
Mary, Martha and Lazarus were hosting a meal for their friends and neighbours sometime after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. The meal seems to be being given in recognition of all that Jesus had done for this family, and Jesus was the honoured guest.
As I read the account of this meal I am aware first of the expensive perfume that Mary poured over Jesus feet and the fragrance that we are told filled the whole house. For Mary this was an expression of her gratitude and devotion to Jesus.
Martha, on the other hand, expressed her devotion in the service of a meal while Lazarus expressed his devotion by reclining at the table with Jesus and listening to his words.
Leaving aside any gender stereotypes, I wonder how we each express our devotion to Jesus.
But the fragrance in a place is not just about the aroma, it is about the whole atmosphere, and this can be affected by our welcome, our words, our attitudes and even our body language.
I wonder how we might fill our homes and our gatherings with the fragrance of Jesus.
Lord Jesus, may the fragrance of my life reflect the gratitude of all that you have done for me in life, in death and in the life to come.
Father God, fill this place.