This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn
No, it's not a disease, and no, it's not on the menu.
I am going to get 6 Muscovy ducklings and raise them in the backyard.
When I was little, my parents went to an auction and came home with 3 ducklings - one for each of my siblings and myself. Mine was named Baby. She was glorious and adventurous and I loved her dearly.
I was reading through a good magazine - Grits - trying to decide if I could/should get chickens. I've wanted chickens for years now, but I know I couldn't kill them and I can only eat so many eggs. I've learned that I could loose my house insurance if I tried to sell eggs from the home, so that's out. And although chickens would improve the soil and get rid of bugs, they are loud, noisy, smelly and not real smart. The last article in this magazine was about ducks - the ease of raising them, etc. It listed various breeds and their pros and cons. Muscovy ducks make good mothers, they are more intelligent than the average duck, very playful with a dog-like loyalty, and eat bugs and respond with good soil additives. Well, REALLY SMELLY additives, but everything has a bad side. Plus, Muscovy ducks don't quack.
I want ducks. I can't get it out of my head. I have wondered if there is a psychological disorder regarding the desire to raise ducks... But specifically, I want to raise Muscovies and let them populate my part of the world. I have a pond. I'll have to dig out the old leaves, patch the cement, and fill it with water. But in the meantime, the ducks can share Daisy's kiddie pool. I have a fenced in area - where my garden went the last three years -- I don't feel like gardening this summer, but the soil will be in terrific shape the following year if I pen the ducks in there now. The rest of my back yard is fenced in and has plenty of safe places and is a smorgasbord - for fowls.
However, I also have possums and raccoons and owls and hawks and eagles who pass through/above my yard. So as vigilant as I'm planning to be, I will also have to take into consideration that I may loose some ducklings. I don't name goldfish because the second I name them, they die, and then I'm left grieving a named fish. You'd think someone who strongly believes that there is life after this life wouldn't have such a terrible time with death. But I do. I always have, from the very first little sparrow that I found outside and brought it in to be nursed back to health, but it didn't heal. I was about 5; we were in North Dakota ... (too much information).
I'm gonna get ducks. I'll paint a sign for the gate, "Don't Let the Ducks Out!" I'll get the pond back into working order and maybe fill it with minnows.
This being Palm Sunday, I was thinking about the woman who anointed Jesus' head with really expensive oil during a meal in a stranger's house sometime between Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday.
It was very expensive oil/perfume and was usually reserved for use when preparing a body after death. So Biblical scholars (usually quite pleased to solve such mysteries) nod knowingly that this represents or at the least acknowledges the "fact" that Jesus was going to die on the cross.
Even Jesus admonishes his followers to leave the woman alone; that she is indeed preparing his body for his funeral.
That's fine. That's nice and tidy and organized in story-form logic.
My question is - and I haven't heard anyone speak to this point in all the years I've been celebrating Palm Sundays -- How did the woman - a total stranger - know what to do to whom and where and when?
Yes, you're right - definitely more than a single question.
Once again, we are shown that God uses women to do His will when most of the men aren't listening. The men were still caught up with the popularity and pomp of Palm Sunday - entrance into the Holy City as heroes and chosen favorites.
They wouldn't have minded if the woman had walked up behind Jesus and laid a laurel wreath upon his brow. But she didn't.
They recognized the scent of nard - just as we today recognize carnations and mentally link it to funerals.
It wasn't as if the idea that Jesus would not live out a full and lengthy life were NEW to the disciples; Jesus had been telling them about it since the beginning of his ministry.
We do like to pretend, though, don't we? The disciples knew why they had come to Jerusalem. They knew that everything had a price and an end. But they were caught up in the revelry of false hope: the entrance into Jerusalem.
And then this stranger comes in and pours perfume onto Jesus' head and the disciples are reminded physically, visually - and especially by their sense of smell - that Jesus had come here to die.
Even their anger can't be torn away from the symbolic value of her actions. She is valuing Jesus. Rather than admitting the symbol of death behind her actions, they become angry. But their anger still centers on value. They rebuke her for wasting money (a year's worth - think $50,000 now-a-days). Along the centuries since then, I'm sure someone had to suggest that she must have been crazy to waste that kind of money.
Crazy. There it is. The word alluded to in this whole passage. This woman shows up with a jar of funereal perfume worth a year's salary and breaks it open over the head of a living man. If she showed up at a ritzy restaurant in NYC and did the same thing to a celebrity, she'd have been hustled off into a padded room for three days. It was a crazy thing to do. A frighteningly crazy thing to do.
So why did she?
I believe it was because she heard God's voice and was willing to follow His Will even if it meant that people would think she was crazy.
I wish I could find out more about this woman. God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus - a pure and kind and gentle young girl. Who did He choose to anoint the body of his son at the time of his death? That was an honorable role not usually assigned to strangers but to respected members of the family.
Who was she? What becomes of her after that night? Was it her money that purchased the oil? Did she use all she had? Was it an inheritance or a betrothal price which she now would never be able to pay?
What lesson did she learn from this?
What lesson do we learn from this?
Even in the midst of celebrity, beware of false hope.
Even in the actions of a crazy person, recognize the hand of God.