When I offer myself to others, I receive Christ

Forward fold

Scripture: Mark 14: 3-9

Giving can be selfish in a way.  When we give to “someone less fortunate” the gifting makes us feel better about our own lives.  We can go forth, feeling better, but not really sacrificing much.  We keep our houses, cars, stuff, and still feel magnanimous. The other person, the receiver of our gift, might feel a lessening of dignity for taking our scraps of generosity.

The woman with the alabaster jar, however, reveals a different model than toxic charity.  She lavishes upon Jesus’ feet a year’s worth of wages in oil.  Her life will be financially difficult because of this offering.  How will she feed her kids, pay rent, buy necessities?  She may lose her home, her stuff, her way of life.

Yet, she decides that anointing Jesus’ feet is worth it. Jesus thinks so, too.  He calls what she did a “beautiful act” and tells her that her offering will always be remembered as part of the gospel.  She gave in a way that honored another, that offered good news.

I wonder what it looks like for us to give in a way that honors other human beings, that offers to them good news. How might we pour out our lives, as did the woman with the alabaster jar, in a way that asks something of us, and that transforms our lives? In return, we receive back in full measure the gospel.

Yoga:

Postures in which we are both “pouring ourselves out” and in turn, receiving back peace and calm, best exemplify this text.  Restorative poses are perfect to live into the story of the woman with the alabaster jar for this reason.

Standing at the Wall pose—Buttocks go against wall.  Place your feet a few inches out from wall, a little wider than hip distance apart.  Inhale and stretch your arms up, exhale and fold, hold opposite elbows.  As you pour forth your body, receive in grace and peace.

Viparita Karani (Legs at the wall pose)—Sit down next to a wall, with hips as close to the wall as you get them.  Slowly swing your legs up to the wall. Hug ankles together and flex feet back.  If it is more comfortable, you can place a folded blanket under your hips to give you some lift, and/or under your hand.  As you are offering your legs up, receive in grace and peace. Then, go out and pour out your life.

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