My preaching text this week is John 12:1-8. It is one of the few passages in the Gospel of John that is mentioned in the other Gospels. It is the story of Mary washing the feet of Jesus with oil and then drying them with her hair. There is a certain intimacy and holiness that comes out of this tender moment of reverence. The power of the story is in the nuance. No one else but Mary, a female disciple, dares to treat the savior of the world with such compassion and devotion. The event is holy and set apart.
I am led to Mary’s observance of divine adoration and of her brazen and faithful devotion to her Lord. Her attention could have carried her away to any other chore in the room, but she chose to fix her eyes on Jesus. She could have tried to carry on a conversation with her brother, Lazarus. He seemed to be doing nothing other than lounging around the house. Or, she could have helped Mary prepare the finishing touches of the meal. Perhaps she could have calmed Judas down and attended to the needs of the other disciples gathered in her house. She did none of those things. Instead, she worshipped at the feet of her master.
The moments that Mary shared with Jesus are the times I long to experience. I mean those moments that seem to transcend time. We wish sacred encounters, much like the one in the Gospel reading, would never end. There is a connection with God, an enlightenment beyond our understanding, and a transformation that allows us to glimpse all that we are created to be. We sit at the feet of our Savior, and are content with just being in His holy presence.
We are called to embrace these unexpected moments of faith, drowning out the naysayers who want to do nothing but diminish our time. But if we are faithful, God will indeed reveal himself to us. He will speak. Maybe not in the way we ever would expect divine words to come to us, but He will let His presence be known.
What do we do with such a gift? With which character do you best identify? Could it be Lazarus, who does nothing but observes the scene? How about Judas, who can’t seem to get past his earthly desires? How about Martha, who once again is at the heart of preparing a meal for a bevy of guests?
For me, I would hope to be like Mary. The one who fell at the feet of her Lord, and did nothing but worship. Despite cost. Despite what others may say. Her heart and soul were with her Savior.
At the feet of Jesus. What better place to be? This is where a disciple is called to serve. This is where hope and faith converge.