The Anointing of Jesus


Holy Week Monologues

This is a series of monologues that take us through the final week of Jesus life. The stories are told in the voices of women who were there. As we move from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday these stories invite us to hear anew the ancient words and see through a new lens.

The Anointing of Jesus is the third in the seven part series.

A monologue will be published on my blog each day throughout Holy Week with the monologue corresponding to that particular day.

Click here to download the full series. I am pleased to offer it as a free resource.

The Anointing of Jesus

In the stories that are told of me my name is not recorded. You may call me Elizabeth. Some have told my story and what they emphasize is the oil I poured and Jesus telling everyone that it was okay. Some people see me as having done something extraordinary and others name me as wasteful. I would like to tell you the whole story.

Although women were not numbered among the chosen 12, there were many of us who followed him. We left our homes and families. We changed our way of life and we embraced his dream. He touched our lives with power and possibility and we knew that life could be better for all God’s children. I heard his words. I saw the difference he made in the lives of people so desperately in need of hope. I watched as he challenged the established order, called the religious leaders to account and brought to life the prophecies of our ancestors. He touched the leper in each of us in need of healing; he taught the old and young alike the creators dance and placed on our lips the melody of peace. Not everyone who followed him saw and understood. Some thought he would help our people overturn the Roman Empire and reclaim the kingdom. Some believed that Jesus would be crowned King. They did not hear him when he said he would most certainly die for what he said and did. They did not hear when he said there was more yet to come marked by hope, promise and new life. But I did. I saw and heard and understood.

For some time he had been preparing us for the possible consequences of his ministry. He knew that he could only defy power for so long before power would push back. He knew that those consequences could be anything from jail to execution. He tried to tell us. He tried to prepare us for continuing his ministry after – whatever happened. In this final week of his life, I watched as he took things to a whole new level. His actions could not be mistaken as he proclaimed a new world order; as he opened the doors of the temple and let in all those who were on the outside and declared that justice would roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

I saw and heard and understood and I felt helpless. Underneath his bold leadership, I saw those moments of fear and uncertainty and his need for strength. I knew, if he could find another way he would. I heard the whispering and the rumours and I knew in my heart he would die for what he believed. I wanted it to be different. I wanted to make it better. I wanted to ease his pain. I wanted him to know that I believed and I would follow to the end and beyond.

Words are empty gestures unless they are accompanied by action. He taught us that and I knew what I must do. In the tradition of my people oil is used for many things – the anointing of a king; to administer healing for body, mind and spirit; and to prepare a body for burial. So, on the third day of his final week I came to him with my jar of oil. Without words, I knelt and anointed him. In doing so I named that I knew he was our king; that he needed healing and strength for the journey; and I prepared him for burial. I knew I must do this now because there would not be another opportunity. Judas believed that I was wasteful and the others simply did not see or understand. But Jesus did. He knew and understood that someone heard him. Someone believed. Jesus said that, wherever the good news was proclaimed in all the world, what I had done would be told in remembrance of me. What I ask you to remember is not the oil but the whole story. I saw, heard, understood and believed.

Today, I ask that you do not remember the oil I poured but remember the whole story which is about Jesus of Nazareth. A man of great compassion who invites us to join him in creating a new world order where peace and justice and love are the guiding principles; where all of earth’s children are held and healed and empowered.

What I did for him so many years ago I offer now to you. You, too, have been chosen and consecrated as beloved children of God. You also need healing and strength for the journey. I invite you now, to come forward for anointing.

© 2019 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury.

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