Sunday, March 24, 2013

Perfume and Palms {Lent day #41}

I know that yesterday was also "Day #40" but I just realized that I skipped from #26 to #28 a while back, so today is really day 40, and maybe I'll go back and change the numbers of the posts at some point!?!

Today is Palm Sunday.  When I get to church in a little while, Joe will be at the front door handing out Palm leaves.  Cindy and Ben will be joining him this year, I hear ~ making sure that everyone gets a leaf. I've come to love and anticipate this, and I've already told you that I love this week of celebration more than any other during the year.

Kayla drew this picture last year.  This morning I re-read the account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowds gathering, the coats and tree branches lining His path, the shouting and cheering of the coming  King.  It was a selfish celebration, though.  I don't think the people were really celebrating WHO Jesus was, but rather WHAT He could accomplish on their behalf to make their lives more pleasant. But Jesus still allowed this ignorant praise and honor.

On Wednesday, my small group discussed the woman who anointed Jesus with her hair and perfume.  Most could relate to the disciples concern over the wastefulness of the expression. Some wondered why Jesus didn't try and stop her as well. Why would He allow this impractical act?  Doesn't He value frugality and caring for the poor?

But the fact is, He did allow it.  And not only did He allow it, but He defended the woman to a roomful of men, told them to stop bothering her.  And even though the woman might not have fully understood everything about who Jesus was, and what was about to happen to Him, Jesus credited her with an act of worship that would forever be remembered, and with preparing Him for His coming burial, and therefore death.

Why did He allow these expressive, lavish, sacrificial expressions ~ whether selfish, ignorant, or sincere?  Because they were good and right.  He isn't conflicted about His identity like we are ~ desiring accolades and then feigning humility.  He knows He is God and He is worthy.  He knows that our expressions of praise are not only due Him, but beneficial to us who were created for this very purpose.

Lord, You accept my palms of praise even when my worship is motivated by self-centered hope.  You receive my perfume of sincere worship even when I can't fully grasp all that You are and all that Your death and resurrection mean.  In the receiving of it all, You teach me to do the thing in which my soul will be most free and satisfied ~ offering You praise and honor and glory and thanks ~ fixing my eyes always on You.

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