April 1, 2001

John 12:1-8

Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus' feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.

Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him said, "Why wasn't this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces." He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.

Jesus said, "Let her alone. She's anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don't always have me."

<The Message >


1. What would be a sign that the day of your burial has been anticipated and honored?

2. What sign will you give to others that you anticipate and honor the day of their burial?

3. These are tough questions we don't consider often enough. To anticipate and honor days of burial -- our own and others -- is to see present value for lives being lived. The relatively few precious moments we have with one another need to be cherished in memory, rejoiced in for their own, and realized that this too shall pass.

Until the alpha and omega of life makes sense we can't seem to make sense of the middle part and we get confused about what is yours and what is mine and end up stealing from ourselves and others the preciousness of life. Without "alpha" (beginning) and "omega" (end), "mu" (middle) becomes a commodity we excuse and turn to our own immediate and temporary advantage -- we turn commonwealth into my wealth.

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