April 15

Monday in Holy Week    “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?”

Scripture John 12:1-11

 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

 9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:

The events described above actually happened on the Saturday before Palm Sunday but the point is so significant. How is it that two people can look at one situation and see things so completely differently? From Mary came worship; from Judas condemnation. The actions reveal the heart. Days later, Mary saw the risen Christ and Judas hanged himself in remorse.  How does what Mary said relate to what Jesus said in the passage above? There is a connection. What did Jesus mean when he said you always have the poor but you won’t always have me? It seems Jesus was reminding those gathered that honoring him was primary. Mary recognized that the Lord would not always be physically in their presence; but there would always be poor people present in society. She wanted to honor the Lord while she could. Notice, Jesus did not say, do not help the poor. He did affirm Mary’s choice and expression of her devotion. We need to be aware that we don’t get lost in doing good works and neglect our first priority, actually our only priority, that of worshiping our Redeemer. It is not even a matter of highest priority, it’s not even a priority. Breathing is not a priority in daily life, we just do it in order to live. In the same way, we worship our God in order to live. What we do in helping the poor follows; it is an outgrowth of our devotion to the Savior. This week is about Jesus and what he did to make possible the restoration of the whole created order. Like Mary, lavious your attention on Jesus. Because of him, the course of humanity and the universe was altered forever.

Music: “Agnus Dei”    by Samuel Barber    The same piece two interpretations. It’s worth your time. Put on headphones to listen to the Shaw recording. There is no doctoring of dynamics with dials etc. All the dynamics are controlled by Mr. Shaw live. Note the different treatments of the text.

“Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” is the translation.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRL447oDId4      Vlaams Radio Koor     7:36

www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6ilqJW3fV8       Robert Shaw Festival Singers.    10:55

Please plan to be with us for the Maundy Thursday at noontime (12:15 PM) this year due to the massive 5K race in the evening. The Good Friday service begins at 7:00 PM. I’ll be preaching on “What Happened at the Cross?” The Chancel Choir will sing in the service. These services will change your Easter Sunday morning!

Hymn:  When I Survey the Wondrous Cross                   Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God

All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.

Prayer: Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: grant your people grace to love what you have commanded and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. ―from Book of Common Prayer

Please plan to be with us Thursday noon at 12:15 PM for the Maundy Thursday service and then  for the Good Friday service at 7:00 PM. It will change your Easter Sunday morning!