But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Mark 14:6

Dear friends,

The verse above comes from Matthew, where Jesus is reclining at a table in Simon the Leper’s house. The place was filled most likely with men, but this woman comes in and pours very expensive oil on Jesus’ head. When the men in the room scold her for “wasting” the precious oil, which could have been sold for a year’s wages to feed the poor, Jesus tells them she’s done a “beautiful thing to me.” The woman’s sacrifice reveals her deep love for Jesus and sets a wonderful example for us today. A commentary on this verse in my Lutheran study bible says, “Today, devote yourself to Jesus by prayer and service.” Not that our good works make us more “beautiful” to Jesus, but as Luther says, “To love Christ, to confess Christ, and to take pleasure in Him—this does not happen without the Holy Spirit.” The woman’s sacrifice of the oil and pouring it on Jesus’ head was an act of faith, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The gift of faith in Jesus which you and I have been given by the Spirit also bears fruit in each of us. May He continue doing so through you, and may it increase to His glory and for the benefit of His kingdom.

I’m reminded also by the verse above, and the larger story around it of the woman’s faith and worship to Jesus, of my joy when I worship with you. For me, I can’t wait to be with you on Sunday morning, standing in God’s court, in His presence, at His table, with you. From that joy also flows the peace and confidence I have in working with you, together, in loving concern and congeniality, whether it’s with a board, assembly, committee, task force, council, or just getting together for a chat—it’s all made possible by the Holy Spirit.

I believe good things are in store for us at St. Paul because Jesus is Lord of the Church, and He doesn’t let His people down. Let’s put all our trust in Him. Let’s sacrifice our precious fear, anger, anxiety, you know, the stuff we love to hang on to because we think it works for us; let’s break open the bottle and pour it on Jesus’ head. He’ll take it. In fact, He’ll take it to the grave and bury it forever. He died for us, and rose again, so that we may be forgiven of all that fear, anger, and anxiety, and live with Him forever. Now that’s a beautiful thing!

God’s peace be with you,

Pastor Don