Whatever your method of choice, whether it’s exchanging cards, presents, flowers, even planning dramatic acts of devotion, as human beings we are always trying to find ways to express our adoration to one another — whether it’s our partners, our family or friends. This morning’s gospel reading features a similar act of devotion from Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, as she anoints Jesus with perfume. So what is the significance of this dramatic act, and the reactions of those around Jesus? And how might we be encouraged and challenged in our devotion today?
In many ways I am incredibly fortunate that my parents, my mum and dad, have always been a safety net for me. Whether it was when, aged 19, I wrote off the car he had just given me a few weeks before, and Dad left a meeting in Cardiff to sort it all out and be there with me, without even a word of anger. Or whether it was when later on, when Evie was just over a year old, she was rushed into hospital and my Mum drove across Wales in the middle of the night and sat with us the whole time she was in surgery (Evie is now completely fine by the way). Today though, as we give thanks for the role our mums have played in our lives, I’m painfully aware that for many this will be a difficult day.
Aside from beginning with some disturbing comments about blood mingling with sacrifices and falling towers — which we will also at least touch on — this morning’s gospel presents us with a parable about a fig tree which simply refuses to bear fruit, no matter what the owner attempts. So what might this picture, and Jesus’ comments, have to say to us today as we continue our Lenten journey, and prepare for our Annual Church Meeting after the service?
I’m sure many of us, in all kinds of areas of life, can relate to that need to warn others — whether that warning is heeded or not. In today’s gospel passage, we find Jesus given a warning by the pharisees, to turn away from the treacherous path he is walking. What can we learn from Jesus’ response to help us live faithfully today as God’s Church?