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Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:8
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Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3
Jesus has returned to the home of his friends, Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany; which is not surprising. Things have not been going well for him. The chief priests and Pharisees are hot on his trail for defying their traditions and challenging their authority. Raising Lazarus from the dead has made them apoplectic with rage.
We are called to be a Bethany to those looking for a place of comfort and friendship and love. A dozen times in just the past couple weeks, that is what Prince of Peace has been as we have gathered for worship services.
A place of comfort, for grieving people.
A place of prayer for worried people.
A place of community for lonely people.
It probably makes no sense to be generous and filled with compassion. Why should you care about my problems when you have enough of your own? But from the gospel’s point of view, it is the only response that makes sense. And love is its name.
Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. Do you have a “Bethany”, a place you can go for friendship and support?
2. How can the church be a “Bethany place” for people with no connection to the community of faith?
The church is called to be a “Bethany”, a place of welcome, comfort and compassion. This week think about the ways you are personally helping your church to live out this calling. If your list is long, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If your list is short or yet to get started, now is a great time to take a first step!
See you in church!