A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Accepting Jesus' Destiny Because He Accepts It

This must have been quite a scene at the home of Mary and Martha and their brother, Lazarus. Jesus has become a marked man. His raising of Lazarus from the dead was a miracle with political implications the religious establish could not tolerate. If Jesus indeed has the power of life over death, then the power of the status quo is in serious trouble. Jesus is wanted and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus are harboring a fugitive. For Jesus and his disciples, and for their hosts, this is no routine gathering among friends, but then life with Jesus has been anything but routine.

It's in this setting that Mary does something quite conventional in a most unconventional way. She washes Jesus' feet with very expensive perfume and she wipes his feet with her hair. She says nothing, but she does not need to do so; for her actions speak louder than any words she can utter. And while she receives criticism for "wasting" such an expensive commodity as pure nard, Jesus affirms what she has done as a loving act in preparation for his burial.

Jesus seems to understand that Mary understands that death is his destiny. No one else seems to get it. The disciples surely don't. Jesus has spoken of his coming death, but if Simon Peter's reaction is any clue, then all the disciples are in denial. They are waiting, not for Jesus to die, but for him to rally the troops and lead the revolt against the Romans. Some of them may even find all the danger and intrigue to be exciting. But Mary gets it... at least she gets that Jesus must die. No, she does not understand why he must die. The fact that death is his destiny is as baffling to her as it would be to the other disciples. But Mary accepts the truth of Jesus' destiny because Jesus accepts it. Such acceptance is faith in its pure form.

It takes faith to journey toward a destiny that is truly in the hands of another. And while that can be quite disconcerting, we can also take comfort in knowing that the one who guides the journey is trustworthy. Mary trusts Jesus with his destiny... and hers. Thus she can journey with him wherever Jesus goes, wherever Jesus leads.

Do we trust Jesus with the journey? Do we trust him with our destiny?

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