I'd been keeping that perfume for my wedding day

Here's the second of the monologues I'm using for the Maundy Thursday event at EBM. It's based on the anointing of Jesus at Bethany.

Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot." While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Mark 14:1-3 (ANIV)


I had been keeping that perfume for my wedding day… It was the most expensive thing I owned… even the jar itself was worth more than my other possessions… But the perfume sealed inside it had been brought from the far east… the mountains at the edge of the earth… Pure nard… the very best that my brother could buy for me…
That was back when he was working… before he became famous… Before he became ill and died… You’ve probably heard of him…  Shimon Eleazar… or maybe you know him as Simon the Leper… or Lazarus… He had been ill for a long time, and on previous visits my sister and I had hosted Jesus ourselves… But we all knew that one day that dreadful disease would finish our beloved brother off…  We had hoped that Jesus would heal him… but for some reason he didn’t… and even when the end was near we sent word to him but he didn’t come… at least not at first… He turned up 4 days too late… or so we thought… I couldn’t face him at first, I was so angry… And when I saw him I said “"If you had just gotten here on time, my brother would not have died."
I was weeping… and so did he… But then he asked where the tomb was… and… well, you know the rest… the whole country knows the rest…
And there they were… all of the men sitting down to meal… A sight I had never expected to see again this side of heaven… my brother Shimon beside the Master… Martha of course was bustling around organising everything… She never did learn to take things slower…
But I was wondering what I could do to say thank you… Then I remembered the perfume… Although I said I was keeping it for my wedding day, I had seriously thought about using it to anoint Shimon’s body before we put it in the tomb… But Martha… ever the realist… said “No!” that I needed the perfume more than ever… either to catch the right man… or to sell to stop us starving!
But we didn’t have to worry about that now… Shimon was back with us again… Risen from the dead…
So I went over to where the Master was reclining and broke open the jar… The perfume filled the room with its heady scent… And I poured it over him… first on his head massaging it into his hair and down his shoulders… then on his feet… drying them with my own hair…
His followers were scandalised… some said I was behaving like a whore… But I don’t care what people will say about me… I had to find some way of showing my love and gratitude… and it had to cost me something… Not just the price of the perfume…
But it was the money they focussed on… Especially their treasurer Judas… He knows the price of everything that one… He spluttered about it being worth 300 silver coins… And how many poor people it would feed…
Then I felt bad about what I’d done… had I been wasteful…
Then one of the other disciples joked… said that Judas was only thinking of the tithe he could skim off the top…
But the Master told them to stop, said that I had done a beautiful thing… He then said something about always having the poor with us, but that we wouldn’t always have him. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that… He clearly didn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother about the poor… that wouldn’t have been like him…
But then he said something even stranger… That when I poured the perfume on him, I did it to prepare him for burial.
Had Martha told him about me wanting to anoint Shimon’s body with it? I don’t know…
But I didn’t understand what he meant about his burial… God willing he’ll be with us for a long time yet…

Prayer:
Lord, what can we give you in the light of all that you have given to us and for us…
All that we have has come from you, all that we are we owe to you,
All that we can be is known to you alone.
You loved us so much that you gave us your son;
He loved us so much that he gave up the riches of heaven
To live as one of us and die for all of us.
Nothing we can give, or do, or say, or sing can adequately thank you for all that you have done…
And so we give our all over to you who gave your all for us. AMEN

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