As a classic introvert I never wanted to speak up front as a child or a teen. As a mom I am rather fascinated by my girls willingness to speak in front of people. I remember the required speech class in college. I was so inhibited and fearful; I felt the sweaty palms, heart pounding, 'afraid I would pass out' kind-of-nervous at the assignments that required speaking to our small class for just a few minutes. Since my college days I have had opportunities to practice. Now I can offer a presentation to a group when needed, although I still get nervous. Leading a small group or retreat is my sweet spot when I know I am following God's lead.
On Monday I guided lectio divina prayer practice via Zoom from John 12:1-8 (If you are interested in these Zoom offerings, Lectio Mondays, check out the link below.) This passage captures a bold uninhibited act of fierce adoration. It stirs a deep longing in me for greater courage and freedom to live my love for Jesus.
Jesus caught the attention of the people when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Great teaching was inspiring, miracles evidence of power, but a resurrection pointed to God himself, and many believed in him. Yet opposition to Jesus steadily increased. The religious leaders were scrambling to regain their sense of control. Storms were brewing and the enemy was on the offensive. But did anyone know that God was about to transform the enemy's greatest assault into a decisive, yet paradoxical, victory?
In John 12 Jesus is in Bethany. A dinner party has been prepared in Jesus' honor just six days before the Passover celebration, just six days before the last supper Jesus would celebrate with his disciples before his arrest. Jesus was approaching a brutal journey to the cross, a humiliating, torturous, sacrificial death, that would result in an offer of life for all.
Lazarus, very much alive, reclined with the disciples, and Martha served. But this story focused on Mary and Jesus. In a culture where women remained in the background and rarely took center stage, especially without being invited, Mary approached Jesus with fierce adoration. In a startling act of passion, and perhaps insight, she anointed his feet with fragrant perfume and wiped them with her hair.
Uninhibited, scandalous, intimate. Reckless, perhaps, Mary whole-heartedly pours out her offering to her Lord, with no regard for propriety, the extravagance, or her reputation.
Scent is distinctly linked to memory, perhaps more than any of the other senses. How did the scent of fierce adoration linger with Jesus and the disciples as they moved into the coming week? Only God knows.
As Jesus journeyed to the cross in the coming days, love, sacrifice, and profound evil would collide and be woven together by the sovereign hand of God. May we see the Triune God more clearly as we enter into His story this week, and it is His story which holds our story. In the midst of so many weighty concerns and realities may the One who offered his life for us be our center and source. May we follow Mary's example and offer a response of fierce adoration for our Savior.
When I get overwhelmed by the pain, fear, and anxiety all around me or my own heartache... the thing I need to know more than anything else is that God is present and I am held by God's love and goodness.
The Divine Hands drawings/paintings are born out of that reality. Here is an introduction to the truths I write about and illustrate in the book, Divine Hands. And I am working on a new drawing now. Easter is all about remembering and celebrating how God reached into humanity at a particular time and place to provide intimacy and healing for all time.
What if you imagine yourself held by the sovereign, healing hands of the Triune God?