The Very Reverend Todd Donatelli

Monday in Holy Week: Two Kinds of Cords

Posted By Todd Donatelli on April 10, 2017

John 12:1-11

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?”  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.” When the great crowd learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

There are two kinds of cords present in this story. The first is the cord of Mary’s hair used to anoint Jesus’ feet. She is offering an unreserved act of love, an unreserved, intimate act of affection. The love of God found in Jesus has freed her to know herself, God and others in a way that allows her to see the need of this time. In this freedom she is aware, sensitive, and responds to what is called for in this specific moment. It is a cord of connection.

The other cord is the self-imposed bonds of the priests. They have already determined Jesus can’t be from God. Thus, bound by this choice their actions in the moment are to do all to secure what they believe even including the action of killing Lazarus. It is a cord of bondage.

What cords are God wishing to cut in our lives - what cords are binding our sense of God, of the world about us, ourselves, others? What cords are choking out the ability to be free and responsive to the flow of God’s life and calling?

What freedom awaits us? What frees us like Mary to be this close to, this connected to, this sensitive to the life of God in us?

Blessed Monday in Holy Week,
The Very Reverend Todd M. Donatelli, Dean of the Cathedral