The Anointing

Matthew 26:6-13

OK, so here’s some good news.

The Scripture passages we have been looking at lately have been, well, difficult – to say the least.

The tale of the rich man and Lazarus; the sufferings of Jesus foretold; warnings about unfaithful servants being punished – you get the picture.

So, for the next few days we will be looking at a particularly beautiful episode from the Lord’s life.  It is his anointing, provided by a woman who loved him dearly.  It is poignant, touching, and speaks so eloquently of a woman’s deep love for the One who loved and saved her.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t exactly an “easy” story to read.  After all, the woman is using precious oil to anoint her Lord “for his burial.”  It is the prelude to all the suffering, and death, we will read about during Holy Week.

Still, it is a welcome story because instead of judgement, and hate, and betrayal – there is deep, profound love.

As you read it again, as I say – for the next three days – in three different versions – keep watch.

Keep watch for the beautiful example this faithful woman provides for all of us.

In contrast to the protests of those who are selfish, those who think only of themselves, this woman is thinking only of how much she loves Jesus, in the purest sense.

She is for us a wonderful model of humility, gentleness, faithfulness, and devotion.

No wonder, just as Jesus predicted, what she did is remembered – and honored – to this day.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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