"A woman approaches Jesus with the alabaster vase. Silently, she breaks the precious seal and a costly fragrance fills the air. Tenderly, reverently, she pours the valuable ointment on Jesus' head as if she is anointing him King."
—From Ch. 26 ("Holy Waste"), Jesus Journey
A friend posed this question: If I was away from the kitchen and my young daughter started doing the dishes for the first time out of pure desire to help me and to bless me, but in the mix of slippery soapy dishes she broke a favorite, heirloom dish of mine, how would I respond…?
It’s a good thing to ponder. How would you respond?
This scenario came to mind whilst reflecting on this memorialized gal who over two millennia ago poured oil on Jesus’ head in preparation for the not-yet... and, for many at the time, the unfathomable.
I like to sit and imagine these recorded stories of Jesus happening in real time. Just some of my questions: What’s it like to get oil poured on your head? (I have only ever had lemonade poured on my head, and I didn't like it.) Did she ask Jesus first if it’d be okay? Was it done quietly or did everyone stop to watch? What was the look on her face? Was she silent or did she sing some sort of a blessing? Did she see or feel the eyes of the disciples—Jesus’ companions—watching her, looking at her, wondering what in the world she was doing?
I imagine it all as a big, sacred pause, a holy “you-could-hear-a-pin-drop” moment… but perhaps it had some awkward moments too, perhaps Jesus got some oil in his mouth or nose.
The smell of the oil would have filled the room. In fact, the disciples probably smelled it on Jesus for some time afterwards. And Jesus would have likely smelled it for days too. He would remember that moment, that love-poured-out-from-a-grateful-heart moment. Perhaps even at his dying, Jesus caught whiffs of that “ridiculous” love for him.
You know, I really want to be more ridiculous for Jesus. And I know it comes from knowing him, doesn't it? Reading through Jesus Journey has made me fall-in-love with Jesus all over again.
When I was first coming to know Jesus fifteen years ago, I was smitten with him—his humor, his heart-aimed questions, his nights away to retreat, how he disappeared out of a crowd (I like to do that, too), his delight in a good meal around a table, his enjoyment in feeding people, and especially his preparation of breakfast along the seashore with his besties (that story gave me the emoji with heart eyes!).
I realized that Jesus was the friend I had been looking for my whole life...the companion that all of me longed to journey with and to know, to dream with and to do life with. And then to discover that he gave his life for me so that I might be with him, eat with him, laugh with him, cry with him, and never go a second without him—I was ALL IN.
Fifteen years on, I continue to want that daily abundant life in Jesus. And in our fast-paced, smartphone-driven culture, that will meaning doing some ridiculous things for him. It will mean turning off the phone at times, checking out of social media, and periodically disappearing from the crowds just to be with him...
Because Jesus is after our hearts. The woman with the alabaster vase understood that, which is why two millennia later we're still learning from her "ridiculous" love for Jesus.
Today's guest post is by Allison Riggs: Allison is affectionately known as All-Is-On. You can actually read about her in Trent’s other book, God On Campus, chapter nine. Back then, during her university days, she was also affectionately known as “Crazy Allison." Now she is known as “Crazy Mom” by her three affectionate children. Allison and her "hunk of a husband" (who wrote yesterday’s reflection) reside in the home Allison grew up in—their children are now the seventh generation of Allison’s family to inhabit the 160-year-old house. It all began with Great Uncle Willoughby Dayton Miller (go ahead, Google him!), who discovered the cause of tooth decay long ago… and now Allison and her family get to live in his house. And yes, they’re open to visitors, so swing on by!
Photo credits: Maria Khoroshilova