When she broke the alabaster box and a sweet fragrance filled the room, those present were stunned. A woman of soiled character had slipped into the house and in a gesture of extravagant waste, poured expensive perfume over the head and feet of Christ. Indignant, condemning remarks assailed her soul...a landscape withered from the choices she had made and from the scorching way the world looked at her. "If this man were a prophet, he would have known what manner of person it is that touches Him." Yet in her pouring, Christ saw not an act of extravagant indiscretion and waste but of extravagant love and humble service. He saw what the others did not; He saw the message of the moment and spoke of the meaning of her life. Defending her, He affirmed and praised her.
We are asked to carry such vision in our soul; to see, as David Steindl-Rast says, "through our eyes" rather than with our eyes...to see into the meaning of a moment...or of a life. What is the message this moment holds for you? Is it one of thanksgiving and worship for the fragrant love that fills our days with sunshine and dew, with smiling eyes of a child, the antics of a squirrel, the darting acrobatics of the hummingbird? Is it a moment of destiny when a wounded soul is set on course through the confession of a repentant heart. Is it a moment of liberation when an imprisoned soul is set free through forgiveness? Or is it a tender, threshhold moment of good-bye to a child leaving for college for the first time...or to kindergarten: good-bye to an era...to child-hood...to innocence....to a full nest? Is the message of the moment one of a change-point that will never bring us back this way again? And what are we to take with us from that message? That life is fleeting and moments precious and oh how we must live them well?
And what is the meaning of the life that walks beside you as a friend or stranger? What angelic fragrance might they pour upon our world? What of Christ may we see in them? The ministering, healing Christ who seeks to salve our aching places with His balm? Or the hungry or lonely Christ who needs to taste our food and feel our touch? What of His ways and wisdom might He be speaking to us from the stranger on the plane?
Let the moment invite you into its richness; let it speak to you of life lived brim-full and running over. Let it sing to you of heaven's ways...stepping moment by moment in the Spirit, listening for meaning beyond the sounds; looking for God in common cloth.