Beloved,

As I smooth a sweet smelling lotion over my dry, cracked hands, I consider Mary of Bethany and her tender gift of adoration, compassion and grief.  On account of her outpouring, the whole room was filled with a fragrant perfume.  It must have clung to everyone who was present!  Like the cedar smoke of a campfire lingers on our skin, clothes and hair, this heady perfume must have remained with everyone in Your presence for days.
“Rising Smoke” – Photo by Trista Wynne
How long were You scented with Mary’s oil, Beloved?  Did it linger on You as You traveled?  Did the smell turn heads as You walked past?  What would they have been thinking?

Was the scent still with You in the upper room as You gathered with the disciples and their families?  Did any of the children ask about it?  Did they breathe You in as You laid Yourhands on them in blessing?

Perhaps the aroma of Mary’s anointing was waning as You entered the garden.  Or perhaps, in Your deepest anguish, as blood sweat and tears mingled, her simple gift drifted up to comfort You.

Oh Beloved, if only Mary had been with You in the garden!  She would have held You while You shook.  She would have let Your tears fall into her hands instead of onto the cold, hard ground of the olive grove. 

But maybe her gift was enough.  Maybe it gave You the courage to finish what You knew was Yours to accomplish.  Maybe she was there in her own way.

A simple gift, an extravagant gift, this wasteful, wondrous, gift of devotion and service was poured out for You.  And then, You, in turn, were poured out for us all.  Mary of Bethany will always be remembered, as will You.  The gift was a beautiful thing indeed.
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