Reading (Mark 14:1-11)
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
This year for Lent I have been keeping a Lent Journal. In many ways it is very similar to our Thought for the Day, on each of the 40 days there are two or three short readings and the lyrics of a hymn or song. The hymns are all related to Lent and have varied from the very well known (When I survey the wondrous cross), to the somewhat more obscure (Deep were the scarlet stains). Thanks to YouTube I have been able to listen to all apart from one of them. What you don’t get in the journal is any kind of actual thought each day, instead you are invited to simply reflect on the bible readings and the hymn to see what they say to you. Apart from that there is very little guidance about how you use the book, however you are given a blank page each day on which you can write or draw or anything else that you may feel led to do.
At the beginning of Lent I decided that each day I would write down the verse, or part of a verse, that stood out to me from the readings and then I would draw a simple illustration to go with the verse. Some days have been easy as a verse has stuck in my mind as I have read, other days have been more difficult and on the most difficult days I have used words from the hymn rather than the readings. The same is true of the illustrations, on some days I know exactly what I want to draw and on others I am lost for a way of putting down what I want.
The best thing about keeping my journal is that it has meant that each day I have spent time reflecting on the time leading up to Jesus’s death and resurrection. I have needed to read the passages carefully to see what they might mean to me and then I have listened to the hymns and responded as best I can.
In some ways this is all that Jesus asks of us. He asks us to spend time with him each day as we try to work out what is being said to us and then he asks for a response. In our reading today we see the response of a woman to Jesus as she anoints him with perfume. I imagine that she had listened to Jesus and for her this was the response that she had. She was rebuked by some of those that were present, but not by Jesus as he accepted the offering that she made. Today is the 30th day of Lent, if it has passed you by so far, then may I suggest that you use the remaining 10 days to spend time with Jesus as he journeys towards Jerusalem to show us just how much he loves us.
Prayer (MP 995)
Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice;
You became nothing, poured out to death.
Many times I’ve wondered at Your gift of life, and I’m in that place once again.
And once again I look upon the cross where You died,
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside.
Once again I thank You, once again I pour out my life.
Song: Once Again - Matt Redman (with lyrics) - YouTube