Gingerly I step down the road; the dust stirring and then settling on my feet. I keep my distance from the others walking around me, trying not to step on stones or divots in my path, as to not stumble and drop this most precious jar. It is swaddled in my best swatches of fabric: purple, crimson, and some gold. Velvet and plush, they have been protecting this jar for quite some time now, waiting for its special occasion—today.
I slip unnoticed in the door of Simon’s home which is bustling with activity and good cheer. Quickly I remove my shoes and wash my feet before Martha sees me and puts me to chores. As I approach our guest of honor reclined at the table, I hear my brother’s laughter across from him, and tears fill my eyes. It seems that it was just a moment ago that I held his lifeless body in my arms as I drenched him with oil, and tenderly wrapped him in his burial cloths.
As I begin to kneel in front of Jesus of Nazareth, His eyes lock with mine. I wipe away my tears, remembering the tears He also shed for my brother, so few days ago. The overwhelming gratitude swells in my chest; resurrection, like he gave to Lazarus, is mine as well. I can’t believe that I am here with the Messiah—my Rabbi—my friend. Emmanuel.
Slowly I uncloak the alabaster jar, careful not to spill a drop of the pure and fragrant nard. I do not ask permission; I do not need to. He closes His eyes awaiting the anointing, as the perfume covers His head and trickles down His face. I fall prostrate on the floor in front of Him. It’s not enough. I cannot worship Him enough. I empty the jar onto His feet, reach around to loosen my hair, and then use it to wash them; feet which have walked where angels trod. I am not worthy.
The fragrance permeates my nostrils, making me dizzy and euphoric. The loud and jovial voices quiet as the other guests take notice of me and the scent which has saturated the air. I can feel their stares, but I care not—not until Judas rebukes me for wasting such lavishness instead of giving its proceeds to the poor. I feel my face redden and my heart quicken as I search for the words to defend myself. Before I can speak, my Savior, Adonai, says to him, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
Jesus reaches for my hand and helps me from the floor. My body is on fire with a presence, like the spirit of Jehovah himself filling my soul. However my head is swirling with His words—“to prepare me for burial”.
My heart begins to sing a dirge.
~Matthew 26:10-13 NIV
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