Lenten Love

Thursday, March 29, 2012 Posted by Sara

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I got stuck.  Confession: when our DFF team discussed our upcoming series on Lent I had not even considered that Lent was upon us, nor that Easter was fast approaching.  I chalk this up to the first-year teacher delirium I often find myself in.
I’ve been studying the book of John with my 3rd graders.  After being informed that Easter was almost upon us, I hurried us along and landed on John 12 yesterday. Mary anoints Jesus at Bethany. It was a story I was very familiar with which follows another story I was familiar with – Lazarus being raised from the dead.  But as we read through Mary’s display of love, pouring out her costly perfume on the feet of Jesus – I got stuck.  
I got so stuck, in fact, that when I went to write my devotional yesterday I stared at a blank screen until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer.  My mind and heart were teeming with questions about what the Lenten season had held for Mary, and her sister Martha and brother Lazarus.  So forgive my late entry, but here is what has been captivating my heart for the last 24 hours…
I love that the Bible zooms in on this little band of siblings. I had never really considered their stories in connection to preparing for Easter.  My mind always jumps to palm leaves and cries of “Hosanna”.  But when I read their story again – the events that took place the week before Jesus rode in on a donkey, I am in awe. It’s here that Jesus gives a sneak preview to this beloved little family – He is the resurrection and the life.  Mary’s response to Jesus raising her brother from the dead is one of adoration and abandon. Can’t you just see her blubbering away at his feet, pouring out something so costly, so prized?  The men around look on in shock, some in disgust.  And all that must be going through her mind is, “No matter, no mater what they think…He is so good. This is love I have never known. He can have it all.  All that I am.” 

Resurrected life imparted an uncontainable love to Mary.  And Jesus hadn’t even gotten to the cross yet. Lazarus was a sneak preview to the coming attraction of Jesus raised from the dead, but Mary’s response was also sneak preview – of  the response we are invited into. What I find so interesting is that although Lazarus is raised from the dead, a mighty testimony indeed, it is Mary’s response that Jesus  says will be remembered and told whenever the gospel is preached (Mark 14:9). In fact, in the book of John when he is about to share about Lazarus he gives reference to Mary, as in “hey, I know you all know about that chick who poured the perfume over Jesus, well here’s a lesser known story about her brother who was raised from the dead.”  There’s just something about her response that made history, especially in the eyes of her beloved Lord.

Mary didn't wait for the cross to give Jesus her all.  We need not wait either. 

Easter will be here soon enough, but Lent is a great season for leaking love. 

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