April 6, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
In Kaleidoscope last week, we talked about the story of the anointing woman (Mark 14:3-9). You know the one? Where everyone is having a nice normal dinner with Jesus at Simon the Leper’s house, and a very well-meaning women comes up to the table of men and pours out some very valuable oil on the head of Jesus to anoint him. Then folks start to get in a tizzy because that oil could have been sold and given to the poor. Jesus then rebukes the dissenters and says that the anointing woman did right and honored Jesus while he was among them.
Absolute classic Bible story as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of the resurrection. In Kaleidoscope, we have these wooden figurines that allow us to go slowly through the story, where the young ones among us can touch and feel the Word.
After the story proper is finished, we reflect. What part of the story doesn’t need to be the same? Do they need to be inside a house for this story to have the same impact? Do we need ALL the disciples there? Or if a couple stayed home sick, would the story be the same? How would the story be different if a disciple had anointed Jesus?
One of the students asked, “Why do they need to be eating?”
“Well, that’s a good question, what would they be doing around the table?”
Another young person pipes in, “They would probably be playing a game at the table.”
And who am I to say Jesus didn’t play games on the road? Sure, there was plenty of serious conversation and prayer, but maybe this scene could have taken place with the 12 disciples taking rest and playing a game. Would folks have been so mad at the woman if they were in the middle of a game?
It’s in this moment we can be reminded that although we’re talking about 2000 years ago, people are still sitting around and eating. People are sitting around playing games. I have this wicked habit of thinking of the time of Jesus, or even the time of the Exodus as this completely different planet, or maybe space-time continuum split and we’re so, so different. Do you do the same thing? But that’s just not true. If you check out your Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, between the Flood and Goliath, there are humans being human and whining about the road snacks not being good enough.
There is often a lament on history repeating itself, but humanity, which is comprised of complex individuals, continues to be incredibly human. Open your favorite Bible to the psalms, you’re going to have some fascinatingly relatable content in there. For joy, for grief, and for everything in between. For when the grocery pick-up gives you the wrong number of potatoes, for when the world is on fire, for when you’re feeling on top of the world and nothing can get you down, the words of the Bible can sustain us because no matter what, we are incredibly human, and that never fails to change.
And finally, yes, I stand by what I said in the Lenten vesper. I adore the book of Numbers, it’s not as flashy as some of the other books (looking at you Esther), but it is incredibly human in the frustration, pain, and neglect. Maybe this is your inspiration to check it out.
Blessings to you all in your adventure through another human week,