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Holy Tears for Holy Week

This weeks blogs are based around the hymn Drop, Drop Slow Tears. The words and a music setting by Orlando Gibbons are linked.


Before Christmas one of my daughters started a big conversation on her TikTok page about what was a reasonable cost for “stocking stuffer” gifts. Most of her followers were pretty certain stockings were for socks and gum, a few were into high end beauty products which, in our house, count as “main gifts”.


It was fascinating to see the difference in perspective on what counted as “expensive”. There was real anger in some of the posts as people expressed that the cost of a “stocking stuffer” for some was more than the cost of a weeks groceries for a family for others.


Today is Monday in Holy Week. The Gospel reading is the story in John's Gospel where a woman anoints Jesus feet with really, really expensive oil. No one would have thought it was cheap and just like the TikTokers there was outrage that it was being poured out extravagantly. 


We don’t know much about this woman. Whoever she was, she had enough money to purchase something very expensive. If we think of this woman in terms of Rodeo Drive and Walmart sale rack it changes the story. Prada not patched rags. A woman with choice, not a desperate outcast.


The hymn talks about our tears washing the feet of Jesus. The woman anoints His feet with this oil. Later in the week we will see Jesus washing the feet of the Disciples and commanding them to do the same for others. Jesus washing the disciples’ feet is not a small thing. It is an act of total self-giving. It is the continuation and explanation of an action which began in his birth and ends in his death. The woman would have known how huge her gift was and she was choosing to give it. 


Tears are not something which most of us give easily. We might find them a sign of weakness. Crying in public is often seen as a sign of failure. I even have people who say to me that  they don't come to church “in case they cry” after a tough time. They feel too proud to be seen broken. Yet, this woman allowed herself to break, to bend low, to fall at Jesus' feet. This week is a week of brokeness, a week of tears.


It is a time when we bring ourselves to God from the depths of who we are as God expounds in action the depths of who God is. Our tears are a symbol of the part of us we often hide, even try to hide from God. The story of Holy Week lays everything bare. We can choose to bathe Jesus' feet in a costly way, or not. We can allow Jesus to wash us through and through, or not. We can play it safe or risk allowing this huge love in to overwhelm us and make us new.


There is no rule that you have to cry this week. But if you do, honor that and offer that as part of who God makes you. This is a week of deep living and daring giving. Gifts of great price. Actions of great love. The depths of who we are is what we offer to Christ and, in turn, Christ transforms and asks us to offer to the world. 


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