Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Mark 14: 1- 11 (NRSV)
1 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; 2 for they said, "Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people." 3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, "Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." 10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
“You will always have the poor with you.” Jesus tells those who witness the unnamed woman’s act of adoration. The rebuke may come as a dismissive surprise. But there is no diminution of the needs of the world in it. True, sustained and sustainable care for the world begins in the prayer of adoration.
I was given ACTS as a mnemonic for the well rounded pattern of prayer. Adoration or loving contemplation of God; Contrition, that is repentance for sins of thought, word, deed and things left undone; Thanksgiving for the innumerable gifts and graces that God showers on us each day; Supplication, asking God to meet the needs of the world, the needs of those I love, and my own needs.
The opening movement of prayer is adoration, in a way all other movements of prayer flow from that first. Loving contemplation of God awakens the recognition of how we have fallen short of the glory of God and our contrition. Contrition for our misdeeds calls to awareness all of the mercies for which we must give thanks. All that we have to give thanks for reminds us of those things and situations for which we offer our prayerful pleas to God. We are the way that God answers prayer. Ours are the hands, feet, eyes, ears and hearts that are God’s answers to the supplications of God’s people. And so the cycle begins again, our work in the world calls us into adoration...

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