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Holy Week Reflections: Beyond Earthly Things

Monday March 29

Continuing our reflections for Holy Week, the Rev Roddy Hamilton examines the account of Mary Magdalene anointing Jesus' feet.

Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (John 12:3-5)


Watch for the trap in the story of Mary and her perfume, and Judas and his righteous anger: expensive perfume against charity for the poor. This Holy Week, perhaps we will see this is the wrong equation. Jesus constantly rails against the way the poor are treated and our humanity cannot leave this incident without an agreeing nod to Judas’ point.

But this story acts as a symbol beyond earthly things, to what is happening in this hour that cannot be quantified, by word, by cost, by reasoning. It is less about expense and more about salvation’s moment. Perfume is the least of it, it is used simply to show how much more unquantifiable, and generous, is the love that is God.



God of love,
This day,
May we count not the cost,
But count the moments
That take us into the depth of a love
We cannot calculate,
Or understand,
And draw there,
On the cusp of salvation,
The gift,
The grace,
The giving,
Of such love.

The Rev Roddy Hamilton is minister of New Kirkpatrick Parish Church, Bearsden. His series of reflections continues tomorrow, and each day of Holy Week

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