Read: John 12:1-8
Here’s what happens…
Here in the house of Lazarus, who Jesus previously raised from the dead, we are invited to witness a model of discipleship beyond words and understanding. Mary, sister of Martha, anoints Jesus with expensive perfume and wipes his feet with her hair. When Judas rebukes her wasteful actions, Jesus tells him to leave her alone saying “you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me”.
Mary’s unusual action offers a very clear picture of her deep and extravagant love for Jesus. Mary seemed to know what was coming. Maybe she had been paying attention to what Jesus had been saying or maybe she just knew that it was time. Whatever was happening, spending time with Jesus had changed her, and it showed in her actions.
Do you think Mary’s actions were wasteful? Why?
How do you think Jesus might have felt at this time?
How would you have felt if you had been in Jesus’ place? In Mary’s place? In Judas’ place?
What would you happily spend a year’s wages on?
What could you give up to devote something of equal significance to God?
What do you think God is saying to you through this? What are you going to do about it?
Take turns saying a line, or paragraph of this prayer as a communal prayer of thanksgiving and intercession
God, for the powerful aroma of coffee that brings us gently into the world, or kick-starts our day, we thank and praise you.
Yet we are reminded of those who toiled in the fields for us, who harvested the beans for next to nothing.
We pray for those who exploited the vulnerable to give us our awakening.
May you, O God, arouse in us a heart for justice that we might fight for fair trade in our world.
God, we thank you for the smell of freshly baked bread, that reaches out into the streets,
warming us, tempting us to taste and eat more than we know is good for us.
We thank you for the variety of choices we have and for giving to us our daily bread.
Yet we understand there are those who have no bread: people who are hungry, destitute, or refugees.
We think of those in places where harvests have failed and famine prevails, where war and terrorism stops supplies,
or raging inflation makes bread a rich man’s food.
May you, O God, arouse in us a heart of compassion, that we might share what we have,
and be willing to feed the hungry as you challenged us to do.
God, we thank you for the sweet smell of perfume and aftershave, as it titillates our senses, arouses our desires,
and makes us feel confident and luxurious.
Yet, Lord, we know of its extravagant cost, and what other things the money could have been used for:
an increase in our offerings, a charitable donation, a meal for the homeless people we try to ignore?
Help us Lord, to be as extravagant with our love, as Mary was, who gave her all for you.
These things we ask in Jesus name.
Material adapted from Spill the Beans, Issue 7, Lent 5 © 2013 Spill the Beans Resource Team www.spillbeans.org.uk
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