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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fragrance (10/24/05)

TITLE: The Redolence of Gratitude
By Garnet Miller


He reclined at the table with Simon (also known as Simon the Leper), her brother Lazarus, and others. The celebration took place a few days before the Passover feast began. She watched them undetected from another room as Simon regaled the guests with a harrowing tale of Lazarus’ miraculous healing by the guest of honor.

Waiting for her chance to enter, Mary’s mind replayed the frightening event of not so long ago. Her chest tightened as she thought of her brother’s body lying on that bed—cold and devoid of life. She and Martha had prayed for the Teacher to come to Bethany, but he had stayed away for several days. When he did arrive, Lazarus was well beyond even the Teacher’s help. Or, so she thought.

The Teacher had shed tears for her brother when they broke the news to him. He keenly felt Lazarus’ loss as she had. Then, he stood before the burial chamber and called Lazarus to come forth from the grave, and he did! Lazarus walked out of that tomb as if he had merely been asleep.

Mary held the gift, wrapped in scarlet cloth, close to her breast. The Teacher deserved more to express her gratitude for saving her brother’s life, but this was all she had. It had cost every coin she had saved.

She slid further back in the corner when Martha headed in her direction carrying trays covered with delectable fare fit for a king. The aroma of roasted lamb, fresh bread, vegetables, and bitter herbs followed in Martha’s wake. The guest of honor blessed the meal laid before them and all around the table began to eat.

Taking a deep breath, Mary stepped into the room. She walked over to where the Teacher reclined and knelt on the floor in front of him. Everyone’s attention fixed on her. Words failed her in that moment. The tears that rolled down her cheeks, landing on his feet, revealed the thankfulness in her heart. It’s now or never, she told herself.

With great care, she removed her head covering. Also, she took a wooden comb out of her hair, allowing the soft auburn ringlets to cascade across her shoulders and down her back. Placing her gift on the floor, the scarlet cloth fell away to reveal a marble jar. Using both her hands, Mary snapped the slender neck of the flask. Reverently, she poured the viscous fluid onto Jesus’ feet.

Bending forward, she allowed her tresses to rest on his feet. She moved her hair back and forth, bathing both feet and ankles in the amber colored oil. The Spikenard glistened on Jesus’ feet.

A sweet, almost musk-like aroma radiated throughout the room, displacing the scents from the feast, leaving an aura of relaxation upon each guest. They had all beheld her offering performed in love. Jesus smiled at Mary.

“Ugh! What a wicked woman she is,” Simon reproached her. “She lets her hair down in public!”

“What a waste of money. That perfume could have been sold to benefit the poor,” Judas scolded.

Mary shrank back from Jesus in shame, her hair dripping with oil. She buried her face in her hands, trying to shield herself from their caustic words. Just then, Jesus held up his hand. The room fell silent.

“Simon, when I entered this house, you neither offered me a bowl of water for my feet, nor a servant to wash them.” Simon turned away from Jesus’ gaze. Jesus then turned his attention to Judas.

“The poor will always be with you, but I will not,” Jesus pointed out.

Bidding her come, Mary once again sat at the Teacher’s feet.

“Only this child has chosen to truly honor me by anointing my body in anticipation of my burial. Once again, she has chosen the greater gift. Because of this, what you all have witnessed today will be told in her memory for generations to come.”

*Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:37,38; John 12:1-8 (KJV)

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This article has been read 1067 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/01/05
I was confused a little by the first paragraph: You start with "He reclined" and then in the same sentence you use "her brother Lazarus." Since we don't have any proper nouns yet, we don't know who these people are, or ever, for a moment, what gender. It's not until the 2nd para. that we "get" the POV of Mary. And I wasn't aware that Lazarus' sister was the same woman who bathed Jesus' feet, but that's probably just me.

All that aside, this is a beautiful piece, which really portrays beautifully her gratitude and adoration. Thanks for writing it!
Jan Ackerson 11/01/05
Yep, it WAS just me! Read your passages, found the connection. Don't know how I've missed that all these years. Thanks!
dub W11/02/05
Everytime I read this story, no matter whose translation, the story moves me. Again, you succeeded at that. Thank you.
Nina Phillips11/02/05
I think it's kind of interesting to read other people's thoughts on how this transpired. But I love the story just the same. Thank you for sharing your version. God bless ya, littlelight
Brandi Roberts11/03/05
Very well written! I enjoyed this!
Alexandra Wilkin11/03/05
This visually rich, and I was totally drawn into this. It has always been one of my favourite stories from the bible and the pov was expressed very tenderly. Beautiful. God bless.
Linda Watson Owen11/03/05
What an entrancing,
intimate take on this marvelous Biblical story!
Laurie Glass 11/03/05
Great take on this Bible story. It's quite a gift to be able to write like this.
Shari Armstrong 11/03/05
I really enjoyed seeing this from the other side of the store :) Very vivid!
Julianne Jones11/04/05
I agree that it's a gift to be able to take these well-known Bible stories and make them LIVE! Well done.
B Brenton11/04/05
This story needs no explaination. Nor does it even need a comment.
You know how I feel about it. A simple word that starts with an "L"
Lynda Lee Schab 11/04/05
You made this story come alive for me! I agree about the beginning - maybe show POV sooner, perhaps start with, "she watched as he reclined at the table..." or something like that. But that small thing aside, this was a wonderful account of a beautiful biblical event. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Debbie OConnor11/04/05
Bravo! This is beautifully done. You brought a scene from scripture to life in exquisite detail. I love every line.
Crista Darr11/05/05
This piece is another sweet-smelling offering to lay at Jesus' feet. Filled with loving tenderness. Beautiful.
Val Clark11/06/05
I love how each of the entries written about Mary have been so individual, special and precious. Thanks for making the effort to see things from her POV.
Marilyn Schnepp 11/06/05
I believe these were two separate events; and in this story they are entertwined which makes it non-biblical...but a beautiful story still; thank you for sharing.
Deborah Porter 11/07/05
Hi Garnet. I'm just taking a moment to pop in and let you know that you actually did very well in the Fragrance Challenge, making it into the top 30. You ranked 29th overall (out of 145 entries), so that really does deserve a pat on the back. Well done! With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)