Sunday, April 17, 2011


Poor Mary of Bethany; it seems she came in for a lot of criticism.  In this case, she pours perfume all over Jesus' Feet and dries them with her tears, and Judas complains she's wasted good money. 

Jesus has just recently raised her dear brother Lazarus from the dead! What's a flagon of even the costliest ointment, from a heart overflowing with that kind of gratitude?  What's she supposed to do, send Jesus a flower arrangement or a thank-you card?

This is was what was in my heart in church this morning when I heard Demetrios' sweet voice beside me, singing the hymn, and in a flash I remembered him saying, two weeks ago, "I think I can discern the protective Hand of God over me," and then I heard the surgeon saying, "I do pray before every operation, that the Hand of God will be at work," and I thought,  "And the same Christ who gave Lazarus back to his sisters has also given me back my Demetrios," and that's when I began crying.  Mary, Mary, can you please pour your pure nard over His Feet for both of us?  O Christ, I have no perfume; all I have is this poor heart and life, and they don't smell very good.

I just about had those tears under control when it occurred to me I have no business still being alive either, with my heart condition.  Yet, even when I forget to take my pills, He keeps me alive.

I was just drying those fresh tears when yet another flood came, for I remembered how He raised me from the death of sin - which is why, when I became Orthodox, I took the name Anastasia, "Resurrection" - and then it hit me how He is constantly raising me from that death, for I constantly sin.

So physically and spiritually, He is keeping me alive every moment - and keeping all of us alive, and if He were to withdraw His sustaining Hand from us for an instant, we'd be gone.  We are all Lazarus.

And that's one way we KNOW that when we come to our departure from this life, it will be because it is the right time for us, the time our tender Shepherd has chosen for us, with our best interest at heart.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: He [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.  Zechariah 9:9

That's the kind of King He is.  O Israel, you have missed the point! He didn't come on a war-horse; He isn't the kind of revolutionary you wanted, to liberate you from Rome. His kingdom lasts forever and ever, say your prophets, so you know it can't be a political one, for no political kingdom can last forever; it has to be a spiritual kingdom. He is the King of Life and the Vanquisher of Death, and His might is His Love, and His glory is His Love, and His Kingdom is Love.

Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He, Who comes in the Name of the Lord!


David Garner said...

Wow, this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, and for your constant insights into the Orthodox Faith. I don't tell you every time one of your posts completely bowls me over, but I should. This one did.

Anam Cara said...

"Rejoice, O Bethany, on this day God came to Thee."

And He continues to come to the world and to us through the Eucharist. We forget to rejoice!

"Unto Thee O Lord of creation we bow down and worship Thy might, for we all are dead in our sins, through Thee O Jesus we are made alive!"

Through Jesus we who are dead are made alive! I was dead and now I am alive! And it happens over and over again.

How many times have I thought the same thing: Lord, I don't have anything but me to offer you and I don't think that is much/enough. And yet He accepts that little that I have. Amazing!

(In Protestant terms: Amazing Love, how can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me!)

Mimi said...

Wow! What an amazing post. Continued prayers for you both