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"One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal.

When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table,

a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town.

She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee

and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment.

She waited behind him at his feet, weeping,

and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair;

then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them

with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself,

‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is

that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’

‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman?

I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet,

but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil,

but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins,

must have been forgiven her,

or she would not have shown such great love.

It is the one who is forgiven little who shows little love.’

Like most Pharisees, Simon was a respectable man;

one who would always try to do “the right thing”.

Like most Pharisees he would be critical

of those whom he felt acted “improperly”.

His image of God, as with that of other Pharisees,

was of a God who has no time for the likes of this known,

but unnamed, immoral woman, referred to as ‘sinner’,

and he most-certainly didn’t want the likes of her at his dinner table

on this particular occasion!

For Simon, having the chance to entertain Jesus was a bit of a trophy,

this radical new rabbi!

Simon must have felt very pleased with himself for being the one to

introduce Rabbi Jesus to his contemporaries.

What a social coup on Simon’s part!

Jesus, on the other hand, felt that in comparison with “Sinner”,

Simon’s hospitality was seriously lacking.

As far as Jesus was concerned,

the one who deserved Jesus’s company that day was “Sinner”!

Jesus noticed her small gestures,

the touches of love shown in water, oil, tears, kisses.

What small gestures of love can I show him? This woman is grateful, extravagant, humble, Lord, when I am narrow-minded, remind me that extravagant forgiveness is your constant response to my inadequacy

May your compassionate gaze illuminate the closed-off places within me that need your unconditional and forgiving love. Amen.

Some with ointment. Some with tears. Me, today, with words, gathered and treasured carried and poured out for you, wherever you are.

May you welcome this as what it is: a needful extravagance an offering

both lavish and crucial that has let go of everything,

to lay itself at your feet and tell you

- I see you, I bless you

And you, where can you go that you do not need this anointing, this blessing that drenches the one who gives, the one who receives? Jan Richardson

Giver of the most expensive gift of all,

help us to learn from you.

May we who are so adept at catering for our own wants,

make ourselves more vulnerable to the needs of others.

Let us live unselfishly and more sensitively,

that we may spread love’s fragrance

wherever the odour cynicism and despair hangs in the air.

Through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen. Bruce Prewer

Loving God, how lavishly you pour out the costly gift

of your grace upon us. Fill our homes and our lives

with the fragrance of your love, so that we may

show your glory and serve your people;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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