Fragrance of Death and Life, 25JUL – #1208

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It’s been a process in processing after my Dad passed away.  Everyone is doing very well and it was a JOY traveling up home for the weekend. Cleaning and sorting some of Dad’s stuff, I helped by taking multiple bags of his clothes to donate.  It is a process to processing that is as therapeutic as it is necessary. A process as therapeutic as it is sad and yet we are VERY grateful for remembering all the good times.  Sadness fades. Treasured memories remain. 

It’s been a process in processing after my Dad passed away just 3 weeks ago.  Everyone is doing very well and it was a JOY traveling up home. Picking Blueberries, Thai food, walks, talks and a new cat. Trinkets of my 40 year old toys found in a hidden closet while emptying the attic. Weebles wobble but they STILL don’t fall down. An unexpected “treasure” were the black walnuts in the attic, crazy, just plain nuts! A hundred or more walnuts stowed into chewed empty cardboard boxes. Squirrels try to store up treasures too. A funny new memory for us.  

My mom is amazing and a champion of cheer and she has been working VERY hard cleaning, sorting and donating some of Dad’s stuff. I helped by taking multiple bags of his clothes to donate.  It is a process that is as therapeutic as it is necessary. A process as therapeutic as it is sad and yet we are VERY grateful for remembering all the good times.  Sadness fades. Treasured memories remain. 

As I moved items, on top was my father’s blue sweater that he seemed always dressed in, especially the last few years. My mom paused in tearful processing when she saw it. I paused to hug her. It is important that life and love does move us to move forward. My Dad doesn’t need that sweater anymore. We don’t either. We know to not store up treasures or sweaters which won’t last, the bible reminds us of this too (Matthew 6). 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

So someone else can use that sweater. We shall keep the memories of course. Blessed memories…

The lingered smell in the sweater surely reminded me of him. Cool little memory triggers seem to come like every day. I smelled it once again before I put it in the washing machine, his suit coat too. A smell in your memory bank can be priceless but not a treasure to save anywhere except within your smile and within your heart. A smell on a shirt can comfort your baby or puppy, so why not you too. A smell can bring memories unique to you. 

I thought of this sweater today, sitting in church, when I was reading ahead, in the story of Mary, Martha’s sister, who took a tremendously valuable bottle of perfumed oil “nard” to pour onto Jesus’s feet and head. A WHOLE bottle worth a year’s wages. WOW expensive and WOW a strong smell too. The house was FILLED with the scent. The money-focused folks gasped, but the teacher in Jesus consoled her and appreciated the gesture and used her as an example of LOVE. She was and is valuably mentioned by us forever to represent His teaching moment to know real treasure: spending time with Him.  Jesus explained to others that Mary was pre-anointing Him for death, and He knew His death was soon to come, within a week’s time. Although He taught and told of His death and deliverance, it is unknown how many people really processed what they heard Him say. We don’t know what we will do today or tomorrow but Jesus knew His time was near. So, with the strong scented oil now poured on Jesus’s feet, Mary used her hair to wipe them. I bet the WHOLE house smelled of the treasured nard oil. Everyone who came close to Jesus that night must have smelled the strong scent. Everyone who came close to Mary must have also smelled her perfumed hair. And no doubt that strong smell lingered for some time in the house. I think it is fitting of this sweet scent as the presence of God in Jesus FILLING the house. Like the scripture states, the smell of Christ is life to those being saved. That’s what reminded me of my Dad’s smell from his sweater. 

Just a week or so after Mary poured that oil on Jesus, just outside of Jerusalem in Bethany, we now know what Jesus knew: Jesus was on His Way to death then resurrected LIFE. The scriptures don’t tell us what Mary and Martha did after His death, but can you imagine that the house may have still smelled of the perfume for some time – even past Jesus’s passing (well it was only a week later!!)… Perhaps Mary’s hair did too, the smell and the memory lingered in her hair or her clothes. Did it trigger thoughts of sorrowful loss or joyful memories for her? A smell of death or a smell of LIFE? Probably both. How about after Jesus arose? Did Mary once again catch the scent in the house and think back to that night in pain – or did it trigger JOY?  It’s not my place to add anything to scripture, but my thought of their thoughts makes me sure that Mary held many a memory of Jesus treasured in her heart. 

Jesus did rise after His death. He did crush the evils of death as foretold in Genesis (chapter 3). Mary became remembered as treasured by the Lord, her story specifically savored in His Word as well as in our retelling. Mary did put her treasure where her heart was, with Jesus. We can too. The smell of Christ is salvation. So, I put the smell of my Dad’s sweater in the category of reminding me that He is in Heaven with Jesus. The best JOY that Jesus gives us life eternally.

We each can remember many unique treasured thoughts of our loved ones. We can all make new unique memories now too, these become future memories that will give life and joy – then and now. When Jesus is remembered, there is JOY. When Jesus is remembered, their is sorrow for the pain He had to bear. When Jesus is remembered, His LOVE is remembered too. No doubt, Jesus treasured us all. He treasures me and He treasures you.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Live LIFE as TREASURED as a loved child of God. Live in the moment (as Mary did). Treasure Jesus (as Mary Did). 

Love Life and love all (as Jesus does too).

Amen 

—-

John 12: 1-8

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Mark 14:3-9

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Matthew 6:19-22

Treasures in Heaven

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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