God is living toward a purpose.
Mark is writing an account of Jesus’ life that will offer glimpses into that purpose.
A group of leaders are having informal meetings in the parking lot, where they agree on their power-protecting priority, but cannot yet see the safest next step.
A woman wants to show Jesus that she’s grateful for his compassion toward her.
And Judas. We’re endlessly speculative about what Judas was thinking, anxious to accuse, anxious to identify with, anxious to finally find the answer.
All those things are true. All of them are about thoughtful planning. Each of them has thoughts and plans at fundamentally different scale.
At one end is the incomprehensible “mind of God”. At the other end is a person who is individually grateful, who wants to show that gratitude, who looks around the room, who sees a jar of perfume, who thinks, “Pouring that on Jesus’ head is the right thing to do” and who does it, respectfully, appropriately.
As Mark tells the story, people scold the woman, Jesus defends her, Judas is offended and finds the leaders in the parking lot. The leaders have their next step, Mark moves his story along quickly and clearly.
But the mind of God and the woman have their own moment. “She did what she could,” is what Jesus says. From his perspective, this is anointing for burial. This is respect worth recounting and remembering. This matters.
From her perspective, I’m guessing, she was a bit horrified by the burial idea. She wasn’t involved in all the layers of stories, trying to advance some plan, trying to create an event, to copy a moment.
She simply wanted to thank Jesus. And she did what she could.
The story is from Mark 14. The photo is my mom, who has been gone from us for a few years, who did what she could.