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. (Jn 12:3)
Edith had been a member of the church I think since the Middle Bronze Age. She was a sweet, little (and I do mean little-I doubt she topped five feet!) white-haired lady. Every Sunday the church bus picked her up at her home (and later, the assisted-care facility) and brought her to worship.
I don’t know why, but Edith decided that she wanted to sing a solo in church. Had she sung in the choir in earlier times? If she had, she never told me. But she had confided in me for some time that “one of these days” that was what she was going to do. Sure enough, one of those Sundays, she did.
There are a few ways I could evaluate Edith’s solo. In terms of musical ability, I had heard better. It took a bit of work for the accompanist to match her halting tempo. In terms of liturgy, the song she chose did not really mesh with the theme of the day’s worship. From any earthly standard, it was a second-rate performance.
In terms of devotion to Christ, however, it was beautiful. The sheer simplicity and sincerity of her faith shone through with every note.
Like Mary, Edith wanted to do something for Jesus. Who knows why she chose to do what she did? Who knows why I would probably have chosen to pass on the opportunity to do something so revealing of my soul?
I can see how some might have been made uncomfortable or embarrassed by her gift…but that’s a problem the disciples had too, isn’t it?