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This is my offering for our Circuit’s Daily Devotions today. This is the script for those who need it for accessibility.
A Psalm of Praise to God:
Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.
2 God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
3 He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation!
4 Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
5 Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
6 Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.
7 Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.
8 Let ocean breakers call out, “Encore!”
And mountains harmonize the finale—
9 A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.
He’ll straighten out the whole world,Psalm 98 from The Message Translation
He’ll put the world right, and everyone in it.
In the centre of the Methodist Prayer Handbook, there is a suggested reading for every day of the year. If you follow the bible readings on the Methodist Church App or website, this is what is used, but if you haven’t got access to either of those, they are listed there in the handbook. If you haven’t got any other bible reading plan to follow, it is a good one to use.
At the moment it is working through John’s gospel.
Today’s reading is from Holy Week, we are used to hearing it in that context. But today we hear it in what the lectionary calls ‘Ordinary Time‘, part of our everyday lives, even in these far from ordinary times.
It is such a beautiful reading, I could listen to it any time. An account of outrageous love and someone who got what Jesus was about to offer for us.
1Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death. 2A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.
3Mary took a very expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. She wiped them with her hair, and the sweet smell of the perfume filled the house. 4A disciple named Judas Iscariot was there. He was the one who was going to betray Jesus, and he asked, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6Judas did not really care about the poor. He asked this because he carried the moneybag and sometimes would steal from it. 7Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me.”
A Plot To Kill Lazarus
9A lot of people came when they heard that Jesus was there. They also wanted to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from death. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus. 11He was the reason that many of the Jewish leaders were turning from them and putting their faith in Jesus.
Jesus is here. It’s almost Passover, the time when we remember God coming to rescue his people from the mess they were in. He’s come for a meal. Martha is serving it – isn’t she always. She shows her love and care by doing things.
I wanted to do something for Jesus, something to show him how special I think he is.
I’ve got this lovely bottle of perfume. It’s really special, I’ve been saving it for the right occasion. And do you know what? I’ve decided this is it. Who better to share it with than Jesus?
But I’m not just going to give him a splash, a quick squirt. Oh no, Jesus deserves something far more extravagant.
And so that’s what happened. I just couldn’t help myself. When I thought about Jesus and all he meant to me I had to pour it all out, every last drop. Then I wiped them with my hair – my precious hair! How else could I show him how much I appreciated what he was, all that he had done – for my family, for us all… I just needed to make some kind of gesture, an offering to Jesus. This is what I had and I gave it.
Judas isn’t happy though, I can tell you. He’s moaning about the waste of money.
Doesn’t he get it? Has he never felt such passion that he just has to try to show it somehow? Does he have no feeling of how special Jesus is? I just had to do something, and if he can’t grasp that, I feel sorry for him. He has been in the presence of Jesus all this time, yet he doesn’t understand that need to pour yourself out in offering to him.
As I read that story and reflect on it, I can’t help but think about how I show God what he means to me. How I offer my greatest gift to God.
What do I have to offer God?
What am I holding back from God? Keeping all of it, or some of it for myself?
How do I thank God, for what he has done in my life?
Perhaps today we can reflect on that…
In the ordinary time that is yet extraordinary, how each day do we offer ourselves, our all, to God?
And so let’s pray
I bring my offering to you,
pour out my life before you.
May I bring you my all,
not keeping anything back,
offering it all
As I think of all that you have given me,
all that you have done for me,
I worship at your feet
and bring my thanks,
But then Jesus said something really weird. He started talking about his burial. He said we wouldn’t always have him there? I wonder what that’s all about?…
Today’s song suggestion is I Will Offer Up My Life, as we consider what we have to give to God and as we come in worship and offering – bringing all that we are, all that we have, and laying it before God.
May God bless each and every one of us
in all that we do,
in all that we are
and all that we lay before God.