April 10

Read: John 12:1-8

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

I will confess that little irritates me as much as a miser. I shouldn’t do such things, but when I look at a person drop coins on a table after a meal in a restaurant, I judge them. It’s not my place to judge them, but I do. I harrumph (internally, of course, for I am an Episcopalian, and that means I am polite), and then I make sure I tip extra. I don’t do it for the reward (of other people watching), but to try to make up for the one who was less generous. I don’t want to be judgmental, but by golly, I am. It is in my nature. That’s why I look to God for help because left to my own devices, I am a jerk!

Mary pours a boatload of perfume on Jesus’ feet and covers them with her hair in what surely would have been about the most obscene manner one could imagine in that day and in that culture and, we are told, the disciples were aghast; speechless; dumbfounded; confounded; completely beside themselves. What on earth!?! And Jesus responds, “What is that to you?”

What is that to you? That’s the question. It’s not my place to oversee the generosity or miserliness of others. That fills the room with the foul stench of judgment – skunk-juice! Mary’s act of generosity filled the house with the sweet fragrance of love – more than making up for the smell of a bad attitude!

God, without you I can do nothing pleasing in this world or the next. Pour your nard upon this nerd, that your house may be filled with the sweet smell of love. Amen.

-Keith Axberg

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