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A journey through Lent - 2016

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Day Thirty Five - The Anointing.

Jesus' feet anointed Image

This is another difficult passage a perfume of great cost, a years wages! It could indeed have been sold and the money given to the poor.

In the context of the start of Holy Week, we see that Jesus is not interested in the purely financial aspect of the action. He acknowledges the act of worship for what it is an extravagant outpouring of devotion to the Messiah.

An act of extravagant love which preceeds the most extravagant act of love as it aslo fortells the anointing of his body as he is placed in the tomb on Friday, after his death on the cross.

Jesus' head anointed Image

Jesus' response about the poor is infact a quote from Deuterononmy chapter 15 where radical, extravagant generosity is encouraged.

That extravagant generosity flows from our relationship and our worship of God.

As we worship God we get a new and better sense of what really matters in the world and in our lives. It causes us to re-prioritise to spend ourselves in God's service rather than in our own.

We are called to put God before all else. Called to pour out our most precious possession, our lives, in as many beautiful ways that we can in our service to the world.

Bible Passage: - Mark 14:3-9 (NIV)

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Contemplation Saying.

"She has done a beautiful thing to me."

Contemplative Prayer.

Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,

Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,

Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.

Listen for God's voice in the quiet of your prayers.

Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.

Hymn: "Said Judas to Mary, now what will you do"

Do an internet search for the title, to see these wonderful words so appropriate for today's refelction.

I wrote a dramatic reading for three voices for this event, as told in John's Gospel, for the last Journey Light, which in the end we did not use. I add it here as a "bonus".


We were gathered together listening to Jesus.

I was determined to show my love in the most extravagant way I could.

He did not want anything, so what could I do?

I wanted to give an extravagant symbol of my love and care for him. For all he means in my and everyone else's life.

I prepared myself with the most expensive perfume I could find.

I did not feel able to anoint his head so I poured out some of the perfume on his feet and wiped it with my hair.

The fragrance was stunning, the meaning everything I wanted to express.


We were gathered together listening to Jesus. When - would you believe it Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus' feet.

I was outraged, a woman, not only sitting at his feet but using her hair to wipe Jesus' feet.

Never mind the fact that we could have sold that perfume and given the money to the poor, minus my percentage of course.


We were gathered together. Mary, God bless her, anointed my feet with expensive perfume.

Judas was outraged, by her actions and her extravagance.

Both unaware that they had vital roles to play in the days to come.

One to betray.

One to anoint my body after my death.

Extravagant self-interest or extravagant love?

I choose to respond to both with extravagant love.

Let us pray together.

Twitter Prayer

Loving Lord, help us to see that our lives are to be poured out for you. Amen

Facebook Prayer

Lord, help us to focus our worship on you.

Show us that our lives are to be poured out for you.

That then they will become something beautiful for you to use in the world.

May our lives bring a beautiful fragrance to the world.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Full Prayer

Ash Cross

Lord, help us to focus our worship on you.

Help us to see that our lives are to be poured out for you.

Help us see that they will then become something beautiful for you to use in the world.

May our lives bring a beautiful fragrance to the world.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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Loving God, we thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who was born and died for us.

Help us to sit at your feet in humble worship.

Accept the gifts that we offer to you, they are our sacrifice.

Help us to walk in your footsteps even when they walk us towards our own cross.

Help us carry the burdens which are laid on our lives.

As we walk with you we know that you share our every moment.

Help us truly believe, that following sad times, there can be happiness ahead in our walk with you. Amen.

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Lord, you call us to be generous with our time and money.

Help us to offer both in your service.

Lord you do not call us to poverty but you do call us to care for the poor.

To labour for the homeless and dispossesed. For those on the margins of society who have no voice.

Help us as we seek social justice. Show us the ways that we can influence the world around us in the power of your name.

Help us speak up against opression, greed and self-interest.

That with both our words and our actions we can change the world, as you call us to.

In the name of Jesus we boldly pray. Amen.