Reading: John 12: 1-8
Mary and Martha’s brief season of pain ended when Jesus resurrected their brother. In today’s story, they are hosting a meal to honor Jesus. They had been followers since ling before the miracle that brought Lazarus back to life, but experiencing such a thing in person will forever change you. Now they gather to offer back what they can.
Each sister has been blessed with certain gifts. Martha’s gift is to cook and serve. She seems to have become comfortable with this. Mary’s gift is a little harder to define but perhaps we could define her gift as insight or discernment. Like in the earlier story in the Bible, Mary chooses to simply be in Jesus’ presence. But this time the Spirit moves inside of her and leads her to anoint Jesus’ feet with some very expensive perfume. In a way it is acknowledgement that death will come to Jesus as she begins to prepare Him for burial.
Like Mary and Martha we are each gifted in unique ways to serve Jesus as well. And like them, we too have impactful and life-changing experiences that shape us. These events can often eventually become a start to our own personal areas of ministry as we are now intensely more aware of and sensitive to this experience. Through this we are able to coach or mentor or walk alongside someone else experiencing something similar to what we experienced. For example, a couple who unexpectedly lost a child may later be able to reach out to another couple now going through that same trial.
Mary was preparing others close to Jesus to begin to consider what His death would mean. This came from her experience with losing Lazarus. We too are shaped by our experiences so that we can share them with others. In those trials we found that God remained close, carried us when needed, and guided us through the trial. At times, we too will be lead or nudged by the Spirit to take action. May we first be aware of the opportunities we have to walk alongside others, to offer them our love and support, and to draw them closer to God in their time of trial.