• Leah Bucko

Sacred Covering

“Mary took a pound of expensive perfume ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus.” - John 12:3

Wow. There's so much to draw from this one piece of scripture, but something stood out to me that never had stood out to me before, and that is the story of a ‘sacred covering.’ All of my children found great comfort in having their face covered when they slept. I can only imagine that it's because they were covered with my womb for nine months. Safe and warm, but all of a sudden they were then made vulnerable. Naked and bear, they came into the world with a natural instinct to be nurtured and covered by the person in care.  I believe, in a spiritual sense, we are naked and bear until we find Jesus. All of our natural human instinct is searching for safety covering and protection. We run to every corner of the earth, longing to find our identity/purpose from somewhere. Whether it's in people or a job, and we try to find ourselves. We will do absolutely anything to find safety for ourselves and our loved ones. But sometimes we can find ourselves hurting others and causing chaos because we are fighting for safety, there's a natural instinct in every human being to defend themselves.  I'd like to set a bit of a background for this particular piece of scripture. Jewish women would wear a head covering to symbolise they were married, but if by any chance they cheated on their husband they would be humiliated in public. The priest would take her head covering off and unbraid her hair. In our day and age, this could be all of our hang ups posted on social media. Could you imagine if you didn't do that great that day, your husband would post a shame list of everything you did wrong or didn’t achieve. Just imagine the shame and how dirty you would feel? You would feel so vulnerable with all your flaws now on show for all the world to see. This is not a random act of kindness; this is hate in the highest form. In fact it reminds me so much of Jesus when he was left to die hanging on a cross, he didn't deserve to suffer humiliation and neither do you, no matter what you have done. In this passage, Mary comes with her hair down and wipes her perfume with it. I see a beautiful picture of letting go of shame and humiliation. I could imagine that day, she came with everything she had fallen short with and placed it at the foot of Jesus. This is true for us, when we are at the feet of Jesus. The darkness is seen through the light, but we are protected by Jesus. Jesus becomes our covering, our place of protection. When we feel shame and humiliation, we can bow at the feet of Jesus because He truly knows our heart. In the Bible, it explains in 1 Corinthians 11v1-6 - that a woman's hair is a glory to her and her hair is given a covering. The sacred covering is revealed when she lays her hair upon Jesus' feet, and surrenders her covering to Jesus as she expresses her worship. Mary’s hair was a symbol of shame, glory and covering. I believe for her, it probably was a cry for mercy as she felt shame and humiliation for her sin. But this can relate to us all, if you're coming to the feet of Jesus with shame and vulnerability, you need to feel covered by God.  Jesus responded to Mary, by covering her in grace and protection. He accepts her worship, protects her from the voice of humiliation and shame that surrounded her. Even Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, cried out, “that's a waste of perfume!” But yet Jesus cries out for Mary, speaking up for her and reassuring her. Mary’s worship was enough. There's always going to be that one person in your life that tells you that what you're doing isn't good enough. I believe many of us look to people for our covering, they soon become our validation. We can then sometimes become dry, because we are never really truly covered. The problem with letting others be our covering, is that they can rip off that veil and humiliate us. This is not what Jesus is about! Jesus is about loving you, showing you compassion. Today He wants to cover you with His feathers, and within His arms you will stay. The Gospel message carries a message of repentance as well as grace. I find myself immersing into both. You may ask “why do I need forgiving?” The answer is we all do, we all have fallen short in some way. That's why I believe focusing on a problem, that someone else has  achieved does not change the world. But when we come to the feet of Jesus, asking for forgiveness does change something. Our heart begins to change. You start to see things in the Father's eyes, where forgiveness is for everyone and peace is for all. If someone asked me what my response was to the world right now. I would say, the world needs PEACE. But peace isn't always silent, it's courageous! It sometimes takes great courage to show peace inside a disruptive hurtful atmosphere. Peace surrenders our hurts and asks for forgiveness. Peace loves all. Lastly, peace makes the choice to stand with a hurting friend.  When I was in high school, I remember like it was yesterday, a close friend of mine was being bullied because of her colour and culture. I stood up to my feet, and shouted at them to stop. I told them why they should and how it was wrong. I'm not saying this to prove anything, but only that I have always stood for black lives and I always will. But I won’t do it silently...I will do it with peace and surrender. Much love, Leah x

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