While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” Mark 14:3-9.
There is so much to unpack in this passage and we will actually hear from the woman in this story during our service on Sunday. What we do know is that this woman, even when being questioned by others, gave Jesus an extravagant gift. Jesus is about to face the toughest week of his life and this woman comes to him and anoints him. There were some who questioned her extravagance, yet Jesus came to her defense. I wonder, as Jesus walked the difficult days ahead, if he closed his eyes and imagined the ointment running down his face? I wonder if he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and recalled the beautiful smell that must have filled the room? This moment of beauty both prepared, and I imagine, sustained Jesus in the difficult days ahead.
What moments of beauty are sustaining you? What memories are bringing a smile to your face?
I want to share a clip from one of my all time favourite movies with you: Pride. Pride tells the true story of a group of LGBTQ people in London who go to Wales during the mining strike of the 1980's to offer their support. These two groups were unlikely allies and the movie shows the story of the incredible bonds that are built between the two communities. In the clip below, they are in a particular tough time of the strike: resources and spirits are low. So, like any good bunch of Welsh folk they turn to song - a moment of beauty - to sustain them. Please have a listen...