Mary of Bethany

The church remembers on this Saturday, Mary of Bethany’s anointing of Jesus. Many see her actions as evidence of the first of Jesus’ disciples to really understand the mission he is undertaking as he heads to Jerusalem.

In the sonnet I imagine the fuller arc of Mary’s experience with Jesus, from his healing of Lazarus to her awaiting news of the resurrection.

This sonnet is based on John 12:1-3 which reads,

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

He came at last, but too late for healing;
My brother for days, sealed up behind stone;
My heart grieved between riot and reeling;
With a shout he healed, gave life to these bones.
Now, from my alabaster heart, broken
Pours the fragrant passion of love and life
Upon his feet, a running devotion
For my savior bearing my sin and strife.
But worse than I feared my king did for me:
Faced death in silence as a Pascal Lamb;
My stone-heart breaks again, tears flow free;
Is there yet hope for this child of Abraham?
My treasure now in a stone vial is sealed
Awaiting a breaking when love is revealed.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog ( Thanks.

Artwork: woodcut for “Die Bibel in Bildern”, 1860 by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794–1872).

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