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God appreciates me and that’s very cool (why I believe reason 2)

[reading time: 5 mins]

"She has done a beautiful thing for me…” (Matthew 26:10)

The history of religion is a history of breathing humans crying out to lifeless gods.  It is a history of thinking, feeling and wondering people offering worth-ship to pulseless and emotionless ‘gods’. This is a tragedy twice-wretched: once-wretched because of the human distress compelling people to cry out to ‘god’ in the first place; and twice-wretched because such tears, no matter how tragically real, can never, ever be heard. The sound of the religious sob doesn’t fall on deaf ears, it falls on stone-dead ears. A god of stone, or even more dead, the cuddly god of the imagination, can no more reciprocate affections than a cricket-bat can reciprocate the applause of the crowd. 

Nevertheless the extreme need behind religious tears has managed to systematise itself into all manner of customs, rituals and, in our day, innovative guitar riffs. At the end of the religious day though, as at the start, imaginings are still imaginings and we can call them ‘god’ and pray to them, but our religious yearnings echo unheard in a barren canyon. 

There is something still more tragic however: missing out on worshipping the cross-carrying, tomb-busting, very real, living, capital ‘G’ God. If it is once-tragic to experience desolation, twice-tragic to cry out futilely for help it is surely three times tragic to truly believe no one divine can respond when there actually is a beautifully real God just beyond the visual spectrum waiting and wanting to respond. (Much scientific rationalising could be done here about God’s existence but why bother when there are numerous websites like this one here.)

The truly magnificent point for Christians is that, yep, if we are in need (as we all are whether we yet know it) it’s a given the one who loved the whole world will respond when we genuinely call and repent: in a sense divine hands will then receive the nails, sanctified head the thorny crown and holy side the spear. 

For us. 

And thus we will be saved as the one who makes all things new one day makes our tomb a womb.  

But it’s also a magnificent truth that if something beautiful is done for Him, He also responds.  Only days before He would be pinned to a cross, the carpenter’s son claiming to be God, responded to a woman and her tears and her poured out perfume this way. "She has done a beautiful thing for me…”  The bible’s spectacular assertions in this story are as understated as ever in Matthew’s account. No intense soundtracks courtesy of Hans Zimmer back then I suppose. Jesus, whom Christians throughout history, have worshipped relationally as God, sits at dinner. If one pauses to think it is actually God sitting at dinner. So there God sits at the dinner table when a door opens and a ‘sinful’ woman approaches. In her hand she holds liquid treasure - a rare and expensive perfume. She approaches God, her only authorisation to do so a repentant heart and the face of the true God who gives grace to the humble. Even after thousands of years the moment of the woman’s approach to Jesus still seems itself so anointed. The container’s seal is broken. Perfume fills the air. The man who will soon wear thorns as a crown receives the perfume poured upon him. Religious leaders in attendance think judgement. Others think financial waste. All are indignant. But what does God think? 

“Why are you people bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me...” 

I love that. No stony silence. No divine aloofness. No dumbness. No judgement to the humble and broken. Instead the wonder of the God of the universe (who, some might be surprised, has a personality) hearing, feeling and appreciating.  ”She has done a beautiful thing for me” 

I only hope we His church and we His followers are doing beautiful things for Him because if He, the true God, likes something, or sees something as beautiful, then we can bet our last heartbeat it really is beautiful. And if its beautiful to God, and appreciated by God, then it is surely important. And if something is important to God then it’s important forever as this story shows when Jesus says: I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her… 

That’s very cool.

So is He.

 © pastoringpilot@reformplease.com