Mark 14:1-11

                It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

                While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her.

                But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

                Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

 

From Rev. Kevin Snow, Pastor

Central Christian Church, Huntington

and Associate Regional Minister for Youth and Young Adults

Agitation is important in life. An agitator helps our dirty laundry become clean. Agitation keeps a room cool in the summer or warm during the winter. A ceiling fan does this good work, moving stagnant, still air up or down. Agitation keeps us from becoming too comfortable, it prevents our relationships from becoming predictable, and it guards our passions from complacency.

Agitation is also an important part of our faith. Our primary images of Jesus are comforting: savior, redeemer, teacher, healer, friend, etc. However, sometimes Jesus words force us to think differently. Occasionally, Jesus says things I would rather he didn’t. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” or “…from now on do not sin again.” In Matthew, Jesus calls a Canaanite woman a dog. Today’s words are equally difficult: “You always have the poor with you…you will not always have me.”

It is easy to avoid the agitation Holy Week offers. To miss the shouts of “Hosanna!” changing to “Crucify him!” To move from palm waving parades to the triumph of an empty tomb without the pain of crucifixion and the despair of death. A woman anoints Jesus, forcing the group to encounter tough realities and hear difficult words. Are we open to the same?

 

O God, open our hearts and minds to agitation, challenging words,

and uncomfortable circumstances,

that our faith will be deepened, our wisdom expanded,

and our horizons broadened. Amen.

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