Monday, February 25, 2013

Anointing and Betrayal


Amanda stops in to talk over what’s coming up in the week ahead.....Martin and his mom Luli come in to talk. Both very moved by last night’s memorial for Teddy. Luli says that it was not only a tribute to who Teddy was but to the vision of what this place not only could be but already is. And that it cannot be allowed to die. So she will get on an airplane later this week and make a trip to see if she can find a solution. There is still hope....

Mim comes in to see where we are, to see if there is any help she can offer.

Tonight’s Bible Study focuses on Mark 14:3ff, known as the Anointing in Bethany...the story of the woman anointing Jesus with costly oil. Traditionally connected with Mary Magdalene, and/or a prostitute. But nowhere here is a name given or any indication she was a prostitute. She could have just as easily been a wealthy woman. 

We talk about Mary Magdalene. her intimacy, friendship, with Jesus. How in her own gospel, she is questioned about her special relationship and when she responds, Peter chastises her. And we wonder if it was because of her importance that the official church attempted to delegitmate her by turning her into a prostitute. 

This passage clearly is an  anointing passage. Jesus as a king to be. But, how different this anointing. Taking place at the home of Simon the leper, one who wold be unclean. And in this case, Jesus does not heal him, make him clean. He simply is as he is. And the anointing is done by a woman, not a prophet. And it also seems she knows where his path is headed. 

And of course, the disciples don’t get it. They rebuke her, like they earlier did the children, say the money could have been used for the poor. Always missing who this ministry is for. All those who are outsiders. Jesus’ response to them is twofold: first of all, there will always be poor and therefore opportunities for individual acts of charity. But that is not what this is about. Secondly, relationship always supercedes theology and ideology. Something churches and movement organizations have yet to learn. And for this reason, the story of this unnamed woman will always be told in remembrance of her.....wherever the good news is proclaimed, throughout the whole world...

And for this reason Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza entitled her classic of feminist theology In Remembrance of Her. 

We finish by talking about Judas Iscariot. How his name meant assassin. One of an underground cadre of rebels engaged in  acts of revolutionary violence. We have no story of Jesus’ calling Judas. We have to imagine it. What was his purpose? To convert him? Or did Judas seek him out as a possible leader? Did  he infiltrate the group because Jesus gathered popular attention? Did he decide to turn him in because of disappointment? 

Of the narrative’s complexity given its demands that Jesus be turned over to the authorities. Of Judas' history, connected by the early church with the betrayal of the Jews. Of his portrait in the Prayer Tower at Oral Roberts University, the only one with a beard. Of the attention given hm by Kazantzakis. Or Jesus Christ Superstar, or his own gospel. In which this role is essential to the narrative and he is the only one Jesus can trust with it. And it is with Judas we end our study. And end the day. 

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