“Not Always Have” (inside Easter week #1)

Here we are in Easter Week 2012 ~ these are some thoughts to nudge our reflection as we move through this Easter week…

Yes, things change. We may not like to admit it. Though much around us adjusts and changes – there are many things that seem to remain the same, constant and sure. We like these things, these people – they provide a comfort and stability that is reassuring within the reality of things continually changing.

In the gospel of John chapter 12 (read it here) – we find Jesus at a meal – a gathering of followers and friends. Into this moment – an awkward moment unfolds – at least some found it awkward, maybe even appalling. As Mary breaks open a perfume bottle and anoints Jesus with it.

Some react with frustration, saying that this bottle (obviously some early version of Calvin Klein – expensive), should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. They’re basically indicating that in their opinion – this act, this anointing was actually a waste.

So, was it? Was it a wasted expression?

It was a moment of worship.

It was a moment of adoration.

It was far from a wasted moment or empty gesture in Jesus’ eyes…

He makes a reply that caught my attention in a new way this week — he replied in verse 7

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

Jesus desires us to care for the poor. That goes without saying…

It’s the statement“but you will not always have me.”

Think about it. Until this moment, the disciples have just assumed that Jesus and his presence alongside them is an unchangeable reality. It’s just the way it is. He’s the anchor to the movement their stepping into and that’s developing around them. When they wake up for the day – he’s there. When they walk along the road seeing miracles, hearing teachings, winning fans & followers – he’s there. When they rest at night – he’s there.

Now, this announcement introduces a new looming reality. “you will not always have me”

It must have been shocking to them. Or maybe this announcement was simply missed by some amidst the commotion.

(John remembered. He was led to record it years later.)

I offer no simple application to the revelation we see early on that Easter week – other than these thoughts for you to consider:

  • When you have a moment to worship, to adore – don’t let it slip by… these moments fade faster than we think.
  • The disciples didn’t understand the magnitude of this moment – that their condition, the day in/day out reality of what they knew and what they thought was coming — was actually changing. I wonder what emotions that triggered within them?
  • Maybe that’s why Jesus spends so much time at the Passover dinner talking & reassuring them about the presence of the Spirit to come. That he would see them again. That he would not leave them as orphans. (John 13-17)
  • Worship is about adoration. Yes, it’s also about living our lives to move the love and hope of God forward in practical ways. (Romans 12:1-3) But, it is also about adoration and appreciation that God can enjoy and savor. I think Jesus enjoyed this moment very much. I often wonder if he could still smell the scent of this beautiful expression as he went through the agony of what he would later endure for you, for me.

What are your thoughts as you reflect on this encounter?

*these are some thoughts to nudge our reflection as we move through this Easter week…thanks for joining in.

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