Lenten Devotional

March 17, 2018

All Day

Category: Adult Education

John 12:1-11

Be Like Mary

John presents us with a familiar encounter where Jesus is surrounded by his closest companions. In an act of seemingly extreme wastefulness, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with pure nard. I find the contrast between Mary and Judas fascinating. On the one hand we have Mary, who is completely comfortable in Jesus’ presence (indicated by the fact that she lets her hair down) making a huge sacrifice in anointing his feet. Judas, on the other hand, seems guarded and false and the passage suggests that his motives were other than he had indicated. He pretends to be concerned for the poor when, in fact, he is only thinking about his own gain.

In reading this passage I thought about how we as a community interact with each other. While we all, no doubt, aspire to be like Mary in our openness and our honoring of Christ through our sacrifice, how often do we act like Judas? I am not suggesting that we might be stealing, rather that we hide our true thoughts and our true intentions from each other. Often, we strive to present an image of virtue, success and perfection, when in reality our lives are anything but. If our lives were indeed perfect what need would we have of Christ’s grace? Every one of us has our imperfections, our anxieties, our pressures, our struggles, our temptations, our vulnerabilities and what good is being part of a Christian community if we do not share these with others? In Galatians 6:2, Paul instructs us to bear one another’s burdens. We should begin by acknowledging our frailties, setting aside our pride, dropping our defenses and being vulnerable like Mary.

Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, who is without equal, you know me better than I know myself. You know my innermost thoughts and fears. Please let my pride never get in the way of honoring you. I humbly ask that you not let my troubles and my imperfections control me, but that you let me draw nearer to you every day in likeness of character, setting aside all that entangles and distracts. I ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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