Friday, March 21, 2008

Where's the Nard?

Last night I attended our Maundy Thursday service. This is a service where we celebrate Jesus' last night on earth, as a mortal. Wednesday night's gospel told of the first Christian who annoints Jesus with nard, a very precious ointment.

He was staying in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. And while He was at the table, a woman came in with an alabaster vial of pure nard ointment. Very expensive. She broke open the alabaster vial, and poured it on His head.

Now some became outraged among themselves, saying, “Why was this ointment wasted? It could’ve been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you causing her trouble? She has done a good thing to Me. You will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have Me.

“What she was able to do, she has done. She has anointed My body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever this Good News is proclaimed, in all the world, what she has done will also be told, as a memorial to her.”

Then, last night, Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the eucharist and we wash each others' feet. We imitate Mary's actions at the last supper when she washed Jesus' feet and wiped them dry with her hair.

When we got ready to get our feet washed, I took off my shoes. I had stinky feet! Horrors! I was embarassed. I found myself thinking about that vial of nard and how we needed something to cover up the smell of our feet...our humaness. But then I realized that having stinky feet probably heightened my sense of humility in the moment. And that was a good thing.

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