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Saturday, August 21, 2010

What I'm Reading Today: Matthew 26:1-30

I never found the reading of plays to be easy for me. The inclusion of stage directions often made it hard for me to concentrate on the storyline and stick with the action. Every once in a while, however, I encounter a play that is so powerful that I am able to overcome those distractions.

One of the first plays I really connected with back in school was the play "Our Town". The themes were so universal that it drew me in and as someone who was raised in a small town, it was easy for me to picture myself in the community described in the story.

There was one moment in the play that has stayed with me for nearly 30 years. It was the play where the protagonist, George I believe, was asked to pick one day from his life to look back on. He was warned, however, not to pick a day that was too important – for such a day would be too painful to view. As it was, it was hard enough for George to stand back and view just an ordinary day as he was filled with regret at the way he failed to recognize the significance of each moment as it unfolded.

The notion that it is hard for us to live in any given moment and recognize its significance is an idea that gets played with in today's passage from Matthew. In that passage the disciples are gathered together in Bethany for what will be one of their final moments together. A woman steps forward to honor the moment for what it is. In order to do that, she felt compelled to anoint Jesus' body.

Instead of being impressed with the woman's ability to recognize the moment for what it was, the disciples did what many of us often do. They treated the moment as if it were like any other. In fact, they went one step further and criticized the woman for wasting resources. The perfume with which she anointed Jesus "could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor", they noted.

It would be easy for me to stand back and be critical of the disciples for failing to recognize the signficance of the moment. If I did that, however, I would be a huge hypocrite – for I am someone who frequently fails to live in the moment. As a result, I am prone to missing the significance of some moments as well.

So how about you?

Are you someone who can live in the moment and recognize the importance of what is happening to you; or are you prone to be like the disciples and myself – apt to be distracted by the past/future and therefore likely to miss the significance of what is happening around you?

Til next time …

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