6 days before the Passover. The Great Sabbath. A day which begins a period of being set apart to prepare hearts to celebrate the Feast of Passover and the Day of Atonement. At Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem, at the house of Martha and her siblings, a feast takes place.
Lazarus, out of the grave, now a tourist attraction, target of desperate, foolish plots to kill him, intent on telling his story…
Martha, happily serving, making sure all the guests were fed and taken care of…
Outside around the house there were throngs of people hoping to get a glimpse of Lazarus or Jesus…
Various groups of Pharisees and leaders watched uneasily, wondering where all this was going to end, trying to take back the reins of control, Jesus had to die; there was no other way to stem this tide…
Jesus’ disciples, confused and unsure by all His talk of dying, convinced He had a last minute trick up His sleeve, wondering what role each had to play in the coming Kingdom…
Judas, the observer, wondering how it would all profit him…
Mary, the worshipper had eyes only for the King. There, by the tomb, as Lazarus walked out wrapped in the shroud, she had seen Jesus the Lord of Life, and she saw with painful clarity, the corruption, unbelief and death that was in her heart.
How often she had sat at the feet of Jesus, believed Him to be the Son of God, but when the stone was rolled over the tomb, all she could think was “Jesus, You don’t care! You used us. Where are You when we need You? If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Lazarus, whom they thought was maggoty and decaying, walked out of the grave. In that blinding moment of truth, she saw before her the Creator, the I AM, El-Shaddai, the source, the origin of Life, the Master and Keeper of the Universe standing before her, his glory sheathed in human form.
She knew He’d heard her thoughts, just as clearly as if she’d spoken aloud. The accusations she’d hurled at Him, the hardness and resistance in her heart. Jesus saw all, and yet, He had compassion, He did not deny Mary and Martha their unspoken half-believing request.
(Mary kneeling at Jesus’ feet) Lord and giver of Life, forgive me, for I was blind
I thought I knew You,
I see now that eternity is not enough to discover all that You are.
In You I begin to see the heart of the Father Almighty.
You said that You did only what You saw the Father in heaven doing,
When You wept at the grave and were groaning, were You echoing the Father’s heart?
(pouring the oil on His feet) You are the GladTiding-bearer,
crossing mountains and valleys with ease.
How beautiful are Your feet, scarred and calloused as they are,
For You have brought news of the end of the war between God and Man
Proclaiming peace, publishing salvation,
Declaring in every action, ‘Our God reigns!’
His Kingdom’s come!
(wiping His feet with her hair) I have seen the goodness of the LORD,
Pass before me, right before my eyes!
All that I am, all that I have, has worth and meaning
Only as I surrender it all to You in worship and reverence.
Spikenard may fill the house with its glory,
But Your glory fills all the earth.
As I have bowed in worship, and surrendered my glory to You,
I am covered with the fragrance of the oil that I poured out on You.
I see in this moment, but dimly, that I was created to carry Your glory,
To be in Your image, and shine forth the goodness of God.
May I now go forth in Your Name, Lord, to proclaim,
‘Our God reigns! His Kingdom’s come!’
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.
They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Rev 4:9-11 ESV
Worship begins when the ‘light-bulb’ goes off, illuminating and expanding for us the understanding of who God is, and showing us who we are in the light of His Glory. For Mary it was a magnified understanding of who Jesus is as the Son of God, as the Resurrection and the Life. For the twenty-four elders, it is the increasing understanding of the Holiness of God, that leads them to lay down their achievements/crowns/rewards and bow in worship.
When we bow down in worship with our understanding and our spirit, we rise up carrying away the song and perfume of heaven with us, wherever we go.