the scent of love: Mark 14

read Mark 14.   Sometimes we just feel worn out.  If you’ve ever had small children, you know what it feels like to be depleted.  Children want 110% of you.  You can’t take a shower.  You can’t sleep through the night.  Somehow you have to figure out how to give from a place of fatigue.  The same holds true if you have a project at work that demands all your time or if you’re caring for someone who is sick.  There are seasons in life where we feel overwhelmed for the simple reason that we are.

Other times, we feel overwhelmed for no discernible reason.  In those times, we add guilt to our burden.  What’s wrong with us that we feel discouraged, we think?  We list all our blessings, and yet we can still feel a vague sense of dissatisfaction and hopelessness, and we don’t know why.

So how do we live with joy no matter what?

The simple answer is: look at the cross.  No one likes to look at it.  No one wants to think of Jesus being spit upon, beaten, mocked, betrayed and murdered as he is in Mark 14. Look how innocent He is – they can’t even find anyone here to accuse Him. I especially hate the image of Jesus weeping in the garden of Gethsemene, begging God – begging Him – that there might be another way than the cross.  Jesus was no cardboard cutout figure, suffering without a scratch on his painted surface.  Jesus was as human as we are.  He didn’t want to suffer any more than we do.  Yet Jesus was also God, and therefore perfect.  So apparently it’s okay to wish for two opposite things at the same time – that our children would behave, or our work would disappear or the sick would get better – and also that God would give us the strength to accept His will.  Peace comes when we can accept, as Jesus does, that no matter what happens, God will bring good out of it.

To me, the most beautiful thing to hold on to in this chapter is the woman who comes and breaks open an expensive jar of perfume and pours it over Jesus.  Jesus praises her and says what is true even as I write this: “this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Christianity is not about just gritting your teeth and getting through.  It is about the lavish extravagant love that God has for us, that enables us to love Him and others in a lavish extravagant way.   God has broken open the most expensive perfume of all – Himself – and showered it all over us.  The scent of God’s love transforms everything.  It can change things that feel like a burial into a resurrection.  The scent of love is all around us, right now.  Just inhale His love – and you will find yourself exhaling love without even trying.

posted by Caroline Coleman in carolinecolemanbooks.com on December 20, 2011

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