Kerdh; The Cornish for Journey.

Reading material to stimulate the mind, inspire the heart and bring hope to the soul.

Kerdh; The Cornish for Journey.

Reading material to stimulate the mind, inspire the heart and bring hope to the soul.

John 12:1-8

This reading is all about extravagance and if we ignore the aside regarding Judas’s supposed motivation and take him at face value, it is the extravagance juxtaposed to a religious morality. We are Not utilitarian, not egalitarian; we have variety in life. Think of what we drink, tea coffee, lemonade, wine, beer, gin. Different tastes for different people at different times. It isn’t just water, there is an extravagance to have enjoyment; something beyond that which keeps us alive. This is life, as opposed to simply existing. Think of flowers, there is an extravagance in creation. The variety in colours, sizes, smells. Think of taste, think of our clothes. Life is about enjoyment and pleasure, about music and poetry; enjoyment touches the soul, nurtures and caresses of senses. So Judas is aiming for the egalitarian and utlitarian line; the line that says feed the poor with your spare £24,000 rather than spending that same money on perfume. There is sympathy for that view point; but as well being being extravagant which we should it all honesty find difficult, in this extravagance there is a generosity. Generosity is a crucial part of Christian theology. We receive life because of the abundant generosity of God, we receive more than existence because of the abundant generosity of God; in creation. Itself there is so much wasted. Generosity is relationship. Generosity perhaps in this day and age is not something that we expect, and quite often we don’t accept it very well. We seem to have adopted the maxim “it is better to give than to receive” and therefore we resist receiving the generosity from others. In some cases this is because we don’t want to feel beholden, in debt to another. But generosity is not ours to reject or as Judas discovered, generosity is not ours to criticise either. And just think the more extravagant and generous the world is, the better place it becomes. But the line of Judas still doesn’t go away because some people don’t have the basics- Newquay’s Disc feeding almost 200 people a day. We should have a moral dilemmas it shouldn’t be an easy answer but for Jesus it was. For this event is happening a week before Jesus’s death, perhaps the evening before Palm Sunday. The imminent end is close and obvious. Bethany is only two miles from Jerusalem so there really was no going back now, and this meal was different because Jesus was anointed, a sacramental action, a sign of God’s presence. A God who is behind all generosity, the generosity of life itself, because Lazarus was at the meal, Lazarus who had only just been raised from the dead. The generosity of life in front of their eyes. So the response, gratitude generosity because of the greatest gift given, the gift of life. But this is about life preparing for death, because Jesus’ feet were anointed first as in the manner of anointing for death. The parallel drawn with Jesus washing the disciples feet a week later is powerful. In that action by Jesus Jesus is being extravagant with his actions; the master washing his disciples feet. Extravagant and generous. But let us return to Mary. She let her hair down infront of men to whom she wasn’t married. More than extravagant, scandalous. And she used the hair to wipe Jesus’ feet; the intimacy that was expressed really can only be interpreted as spontaneity of gratitude in response to the generous gift. Inspired by a spiritual gift she responded with what she had, a perfume worth a years salary for the average worker. Of course the perfume smell is in direct contrast to the stench from the tomb of her brother. Out of the tomb of death came life; from the life of Jesus was going to come death. This was the last opportunity for preparation. Think of our own grief now a days. The most emotional of funerals tend to be those where the last messages of love to the deceased were never heard. Give your love in the present, to the living, be extravagant and generous and receive the extravagant generosity of God that has been prepared for you.