from Pam Hogan
“... And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3 NIV)
When the furnace came on, the scent of Ruth’s perfume White Shoulders wafted through the heating ducts into our second floor apartment. I halfsmiled, recalling her, my downstairs neighbor and landlord; she’d died several years earlier, yet the heatactivated aroma of tuberose, gardenia and sandalwood brought her instantly to my mind. She was a generous woman who’d: forgiven (more than once) a late rent check; kept a bag of Goldfish crackers on a low shelf in her pantry for our toddler daughter; called us her “true family” the last time we saw her.
My family has long since moved from that apartment, but occasionally I will catch a whiff of White Shoulders (on the street, in the mall…) and remember Ruth with gratitude.
In today’s reading we encounter Mary of Bethany at the feet of Jesus; she, too, was filled with gratitude her brother, Lazarus, was ALIVE ! Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, brought her once-shrouded-and-buried brother back to her and their sister, Martha. Words were not enough to express her gratitude and love to Jesus. She took what had to be one of her most treasured possessions – a bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages – and poured it over Jesus’ feet. She then humbled herself to wash His feet with her hair. Judas sneered at her gesture, but Jesus accepted her offering.
We, too, are called to pour out ourselves (our treasured time, talents and resources; our lives) in thanks to the One who promises resurrection and eternal life to those who are His. Through His Spirit, we are to be His “fragrance” to desperate people in a dying world (2 Cor. 2:15), regardless of how we may be received. Just as the scent of White Shoulders perfume was synonymous with Ruth to me, may our “scent” be synonymous with His life and love.