Sermons on anointing
This story becomes real for each one of us when we make that mark of the sign of the cross on our hearts and faithfully follow Jesus into the places that no rational person would traverse. That’s how we find Easter in our lives. Amen.
This holy work of truth telling, of allowing God to seep within our souls to spotlight that which needs to be washed away by the tears of Jesus, that which needs to be held in love by Jesus’ healing touch, that which needs to be sanctified, claimed as holy within us, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, all of that is the intentional work of Lent. I invite you to let Jesus do this work for and with you, as you offer yourself, all of yourself, to follow the One who loves you beyond measure. Jesus was inviting the disciples and is inviting us to look at our greatest fear often hidden deep within the recesses of our heart and mind and to look at our deepest pain straight in the eye, so it can be transformed into something that can be life-giving for us or for others.
As Jesus was emerging from the water, God tore open the heavens. This was a dramatic, compulsive, and directive motion of God, which released an immense amount of spiritual energy, and forever changed the relationship between heaven and earth, between God and humankind, through the ministry of Jesus. When we feel spiritual energy, when we have a desire to get rid of what no longer fits us, we are like Jesus breaking through the plane of the water, beginning the process of receiving the Spirit, once again, and it is the same spiritual energy with which God tore open the heavens and released into our world.
Pentecost is a time of celebrating God’s surprises in our lives. Often, it’s fun and exhilarating to run and catch up with the Spirit who is leading us into new life, new ways of being, new callings to answer, new ways of being church. And sometimes, it’s hard, and we feel out of breath, and we want things to slow down, or return to what was. I think this is a very natural reaction because surprises are unexpected and we can be thrown off by the lack of our control, or by the direction the Spirit is moving us toward, one that we may not have chosen ourselves. The Holy Spirit is a wild and crazy thing and yet it always empowers us to join with the first disciples in witnessing to the truth of the risen Christ. I think this is one of most helpful things for me to remember when I’m feeling exhausted by the changes the Holy Spirit is demanding of me – it’s for a good purpose. It’s so I can be a more faithful witness to what lights up my life, to what offers me joy, to what gives my life purpose, what inspires me to become the best I can be – the presence of Jesus in my life.
“Do you see this woman?”. This may sound like a simple question, or a question with a simple answer. It is the question that Jesus asks of Simon in our gospel story, and one, which exemplifies Jesus’ prophetic role in bringing in God’s new kingdom: where all are seen, where the dignity of all are respected, where all are treated as God’s beloved
I sometimes showed up late at night, when I knew all family would have left, so I could spend some quiet moments in prayer with Francis, making the sign of the cross on her forehead, surrendering my soul into a prayer of offering a loved one’s life into the eternal force of love.
With the power of the resurrection made manifest through the healing offered by the apostles, we first know that healing is what the resurrected Christ is all about. The apostles were given this power so that they could continue Jesus’ primary mission: to heal the world.
When we give or receive love gone beautifully wild, when we love without counting costs, when we give extravagantly, when we pour out the ointment of our own lives, lavishly upon someone regardless of their deservedness, a healthy hallowing takes place within our own being. We create not a void nor an empty space, but an open place, which prepares us for the insight God desires to give us, which allows the space for Jesus to rule our hearts, and which transforms us into a translucent alabaster jar, ready to spill out the special ointment of our hearts. When we give love away, we create room for God to show up in our lives.