Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it[c] so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8, NRSV)
For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.[f] (Hebrews 9:15, NRSV)
Holy Week is always an incredible time of reflection, introspection, and renewal. This week we experience highs and lows, but ultimately as we begin our journey from Palm Sunday to Easter morning we know one thing that is crucial to all we do. To get to Easter Sunday we must first experience Holy Thursday, a betrayal, denial, and Christ dying on the cross for all our sins. All before we experience Easter and the Resurrection.
Resurrection ultimately alters everything we do, think, and live our lives. It gives us a new perspective. Take this first passage we have for today. Mary and Judas essentially exist in different perspectives, and the contrast is one that is still applicable today. Consider the priorities of ourselves and those of the teenagers in our ministries. Unlike the priority of Mary we tend to put Christ last, but put possessions first.
Mary is changed by Christ so much so that she doesn’t value this perfume for the earthly value that it has. The only part of this world that she values is Christ and giving her life for him. What a great gift she gives us in this moment, and not just us, what a great gift she gives us to share with our teenagers in our youth ministries as well.
When was the last time at your youth gathering that you gave your youth the opportunity to put everything aside and spend some time in quiet with God? Last night at Heights Sunday Night (our youth gathering for Arlington Heights UMC Youth Ministry) we started Holy Week with having a night of quiet and reflection. We put out our labyrinth and set up three prayer stations. For 45 minutes 15 teenagers spent time in quiet without their phones and afterwards the perspective they received was one that left them speechless.
They received clarity that the only part of this world that mattered was Christ, and Him alone.
So, this week I challenge you as I challenged them last night. I challenge you and I to spend 15 minutes with God everyday. I wonder what our lives would look like if we invested in this time? What would our stress level look like? Our concerns? What perspective would we have?
Let’s find out together.