I know, this is a Holy Week hymn, one sung on Good Friday but it was sung yesterday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sanford where Claude and I worshipped.  It’s one of those hymns that goes not to the heart but through the heart like a dagger: “Who was the guilty?  Who brought this upon thee?  Alas, my treason, Jesus hath undone thee.  ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee: I crucified thee.” 

If you are an Episcopalian and I suspect most of you are, we all heard the story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus’ feet with oil made with spikenard, a costly spice used to perfume oils.  Nard then was a fragrant ointment derived from the plant, produced in the Himalayas and sealed in clay or alabaster bottles.  The container was broken and its expensive contents were used to anoint a guest or a person being honored.  In other words, it was something of value, something not used or given away lightly.  Mary would have paid a lot of money for it, money that was probably in short supply.  Judas, the snake, complained that it should have been sold and the money given to the poor.  We know he cared not a tiddle for the poor but that he was a thief among other things and would think nothing of stealing from the common purse.

If the hymn was not enough, Fr. Craig Lister asked us a question that has me awake at 2:30 in the morning.  What of value did we have that we would gladly give away.  He wasn’t referring to our health, or our families but something material, something cherished like a family heirloom, or an antique that had been in the family for generations or even a special piece of jewelry.  I  have none of those things but if  you remember I wrote on the blog several weeks ago that  I would try to save  my 5 paintings done by Jessie Mackay should we have a fire, of course after  getting Claude and James out.    The paintings  are of value but that would not be my reason;  their vibrancy, subjects and color light up my life and bring  joy to my soul.   One is never alone when one is surrounded by art.   In other words: they are life-giving to me.  So now I am caught in an uncomfortable place.  Someone wrote me just last week that she wanted to sell her home in the mountains of North Carolina so she would have more money to give away.  I’ve said that I wished I had more money just so I could give it away and now I find myself with valuable, expensive paintings that I don’t want to sell in order to give to my poor poor friends in Tanzania.  I feel like the rich young ruler who turned away from Jesus when he was told to sell all he had and follow Him.   I who have never considered myself materialistic find myself just that.  Jesus won’t make me sell those paintings, he will continue to love me just the same, but still that question has caused me grief and loss of sleep.  I think nothing we do is enough for what was done for us.  We approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week.  To think I wondered what it would be like for me this year.  I’ve already found out.  “Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee…….”

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