To enter this Lenten meditation, please watch the following YouTube video of Ana Hernandez and Ruth Cunningham’s (HARC) Open My Heart. As you feel drawn to, please join them in singing. As you sing, place your hands over heart. Then, continuing to sing, extend your arms forward and slightly to the side, with your palms up, open.
We often think of the heart as a treasury, a place where our most central thoughts, values, desires, and emotions are held. The heart is a treasury, but it is more. It is not only a passive receptacle, it is also an organ of perception. We can see with hearts. The seeing of the heart is intuition, understanding, participation. As you sing Open My Heart, close your eyes, and open the seeing of the heart.
Next, slowly read the following passage from the Gospel of John aloud:
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 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?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me." -John 12:1-8
It is Mary of Bethany who, because she has done this loving, difficult spiritual work that is not only for her beloved friend, Jesus, but is for her own good, is able to recognize the Resurrected Christ in the garden where her friend had been buried.
Who is the Mary within you, who recognizes the Christ of your past, loves what he has contributed to your life and your life-world, and lovingly anoints him for his burial?
Who is this Christ whose form is passing, so that, “greater things will you do than he [the Christ of your past] has done, for I am going to the Father, and the Father will send the Spirit to lead you into all truth?” What patterns of life, perceptions, complexes of experiences, inner voices have helped you in the past, but are no longer adequate for your present and the future that awaits you?
Who is Judas within your personality, a part of yourself, not an alien, who has a message that you must hear, but must also criticize and ultimately choose to reject? The part of you that is Judas may lie nearer to your daily mind, your ordinary consciousness and your well-known personality. Thus, the voice of Judas may be very persuasive: Reject change, keep things as they are. Judas will give you good reasons for maintaining the current conditions of your life, even though the Christ of that life is passing.
Who is the more expansive Christ of your emerging future? What is the shape and content of the life God is waiting to grant you today?