Third Time

It’s probably not what you’d expect.  

1. Two of my friends texted me this morning from Rhode Island to tell me that Sanctuary is participating in prayer and fasting beginning January 1st, which is funny to me because they knew how excited I’d be for this news.  

(That’s how I started 2017 and it changed the course of my entire year. I think this has been one of the best years of my life—not an exaggeration—and I attribute it to orienting my year around this practice of prayer and fasting. I recommend it to anyone who is ready to break the status quo of their life and see a difference in their life. Listen to Greg’s sermon and be inspired.)

2. Banana chocolate chip pancakes a la Judge Currier.  

3. I went for a long walk while listening to sermons, and I didn’t realize SoundCloud would autoplay to the next sermon with literally NO PAUSE in between. Thus, I heard a sermon I’ve heard twice already and you know what they say: third time’s a charm. And man, the same parts that got me before got me again, but this time I also had a revelatory thought (for me, but maybe this is a known thing) regarding Mary Magdalene.  

I think she understood that Jesus was going to his death, and when she broke the Jar of nard, it was because she knew it was the last time she’d see him. Jesus says she prepares him for his burial, but I always assumed it was coincidental…but Mary is the disciple who always got it, so maybe she actually believed him when he went around predicting his own death. Jesus said wherever the gospel is preached, this story will be told. Pastor Andrew posits it’s because of her passion (“passion,” of course, was first used to describe what Jesus did on the cross, hence The Passion of the Christ); she abandoned what was “acceptable” in an act of radical love. To be clear, what she did wasn’t merely unacceptable because of the men/women dynamics of the day, but there was no context in which it was normal to go around breaking jars of oil that were worth a year’s wages. But it made perfect sense to me as soon as Andrew read this quote from Fr. Pedro Arrupe, a Spanish leader of the Jesuits in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped: 

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,

and it will decide everything. 

Mary loved Jesus, that’s obvious. And I don’t mean in a distorted way, but in a pure, this is the Son of God sort of way. And if someone you loved was about to die, and you believe it was the last opportunity you’d have to see them, what would you do? She stormed this room of men and offered him the most valuable thing she had, and in so doing anointed him for his burial. 

It doesn’t sound incredibly revelatory from the outside, but inside my head I understood. I could feel it. I just sensed that she knew what was coming; two days before the Last Supper she had her moment to be with Jesus.

Fall in love and stay in love.