Monday, March 19, 2007

more extravagance

In case the prodigal love Jesus talked about last week wasn't enough...

This week, we get another extravagant act of love. In John's gospel, this story of Mary (here the Mary of "Martha's sister" fame) tells of how she used a whole bottle of expensive perfume to pour out on Jesus' feet.

And, in case that doesn't seem extravagant enough, she then used her hair to wipe those feet.

This is big stuff. Bold, improvisational, daring, extravagant stuff. As if Mary were trying to find a way, within the limitations of our bodies and the stuff of the world, to demonstrate the depth of the love she had for Jesus.

In Isaiah, the lavishness of praise for God gets even wilder (in a literal way). Here, jackals and ostriches get in on the action. (Now, what's more fun than imagining how an ostrich would praise God?!?)

Because of the gracious, life-giving things that God is doing in the world, and through Jesus, people want to pour out praise. And love. And perfume. God, whose love, as it turns out, cannot be contained by the limitations of bodies and worldly stuff. (That is, Jesus is about to die, but that's not gonna be the end...)

I guess that invites us to ask how we will use our limited bodies to praise God.

I have the sense that doing so might just connect us to something truly extravagant.

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