Today I want to remember this woman, this beautiful Mary that offered such an immense gift born from her singular devotion to Jesus.
On this Thursday before Easter, this holy, being-anointed, preparing day I reflect on the woman who entered a humble home with a jar full of priceless perfume.
I wonder, as she stepped over the threshold, if her heart raced, I wonder if in this moment, she questioned the act that she somehow knew she was being invited by Divine voice to fulfil. I wonder how it felt as a woman of her time, to enter a room of men. Did she have to push her way in? Was her path clear? How did it feel for her to have all eyes upon her, to listen to silence descend as one after another noticed her presence.
What did she feel as her eyes found His form, as she eagerly soaked him up in her vision? What emotions pulsed through her heart? What sensations moved through her body?
BELOVED. This man who had captured her heart as no man ever had before or would again. This One who she had devoted her life to. This One who had stepped into her world and shifted it from its axis changing it entirely from what was to this. This incarnate Divine being that drenched her life in such profound love that she had unravelled from what she was and was even now being re-made into the woman who, in this moment, found her eyes locked with his.
Fire seemed to burn in the space between them, their gaze causing others in the room to shift uncomfortably and look away. Such was their love, such was their devotion to one another, such was the intensity of feeling.
Am I this Mary too? My eyes locked as hers were with the intense beauty of the man Jesus. Is he even now unravelling my life and inviting me to deeper places of devotion, of intimacy, of what it means to be love in the world?
She reaches his body, they are near enough now that their heartbeats begin to pulse together as one.
She slowly removes the top of the jar releasing a powerfully fragrant aroma, the onlookers now drawn with curiosity to her next move. She begins to pour the oil over his head and it drips down his face, into his beard, moving slowly over his back, shoulders and chest soaking through his clothing. His aroma now becomes that of the anointing oil. He is being made ready, being prepared for what is to come by pure love. They are unaware of the disapproving gaze of others, there is only this Divine moment.
I wonder if, as he prayed in torment and sweated drops of blood, whether the lingering aroma of this perfume kept hope alive? I wonder if, as he hung in agony, whether there remained some fragrance, whether it gave him courage to stay the course, whether her devotion helped him fulfil what he knew he had to?
Today I want to remember this woman, this beautiful Mary that offered such an immense gift born from her singular devotion to Jesus. I want it to invite me to remember my own devotion. I want it to remind me to be me even when others disapprove and are offended by my actions – “you will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” I want this devotion to give me the courage to step into places where I may not be welcome but where I know I need to be.
Above all I want it to remind me of how Jesus sees me – sees you – of the intense, fiery love that burns from His being into ours. Of how he knows us so deeply that it may make us squirm. I want and need that love today, every day. I want to remember the incarnate man that walked through this broken, aching world with pure love and poured it out wherever it was needed.