Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tear Bottles

You have noted my lamentation;
put my tears into your bottle;
are they not recorded in your book?
Psalm 56:8

Our Gospel reading for today is about the woman who crashed a dinner party to get to see Jesus. The story (Luke 7:36-50) tells of Simon, who had invited Jesus to dinner. Contrary to custom, Simon had not offered Jesus any water with which to wash his feet. The woman "stood behind Jesus and washed his feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair."

Simon was quick to point out that this woman was a sinner, and Jesus was quick to point out that Simon was not a very good host. I would like to point out that it would have taken a lot of crying right there on the spot to produce enough tears to wash Jesus' feet. I wonder if she had extra tears from previous bouts of weeping stored up in one of those "tear bottles" like those pictured above.

Beyond the lavish treatment of Jesus in washing his feet, the woman (whose name we do not have) broke open an alabaster jar of ointment and anointed Jesus' feet. It must have felt good to Jesus to have ointment on all the cracks and fissures in his feet from walking the dusty roads. Amazingly, Jesus allowed this public display of affection as the woman "continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment."

This just got on Simon's nerves. Jesus told Simon a parable: A certain man had two debtors. One owed him five hundred denarii (about eighteen months' wages) and the other owed him fifty (less than two months' wages). When they both could not pay, the creditor forgave them both. "Which one", asked Jesus, "will love the creditor more"? Simon had to concede that it was the one who had been forgiven more.

And Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

By the way, did you know that you can still purchase tear bottles?

In peace,


The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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