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John 11:40 – Jesus said to [Martha], “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”


A couple of years ago, Bill and I attended a wonderful celebration like no other. The wedding was glorious as they often are, but the reception can be described using only one word: enchanting. The entire space was brilliant with twinkle lights adding just the right amount of ambient sparkle. The linen-covered round tables could easily accommodate eight guests, but because of the current world condition, social distancing was essential. Each table was set for only four people, and the two of us found ourselves at table seven with a mother and her nine-year-old-flower-girl daughter. After three minutes of chit-chat, I realized our little quartet would not remain strangers as we were kindred spirits who fell into an easy rhythm of conversation. The fellowship may have been jeopardized had our table been filled to capacity, and I was pleased to relax into the intimacy of conversation for four.

Adding to the warmth of the night, the air filled with the familiar music of our youth. To the delight of our youngest tablemate, the three adults hummed along, swayed to the tempos, and exchanged our trivia knowledge matching tunes to movies of our era.

I have often attended events where minutes masquerade as hours, but not on this occasion. On this evening, time passed quickly as we patiently awaited the arrival of the bride and groom. Even as I believed nothing could create a more delightful experience, the cocktail hour arrived with an open bar – but not in the traditional sense. During this non-alcoholic gathering, we would be drinking in the aroma of mini pancakes fresh from the griddle. We wasted no time making our way to the pancake bar filled with fresh fruits and syrups and compotes… enchanting.

Having spent back-to-back evenings with friends old and new, we returned home with a transformed idea of what true hospitality looks like. Attention to detail and a sincere caring for the comfort of others was evident at every turn. In my vocation, the merging of two families can become predictable and sometimes even mundane. This wedding was remarkable for its innovativeness and generosity. This was more than a simple dinner; we felt loved.

In the Gospel of John, we learn of the days just prior to the Passover feast when Jesus enters the home of Lazarus and his sisters. With Martha busy preparing the mini pancake bar and serving the guests, Mary turns her attention to true hospitality. She pours out her most prized possession of perfumed oil on Jesus’ feet, creates an enchanting moment, and wipes his feet with her hair. The reception may have been in Jesus’ honor, but he knew this was more than a simple dinner. With her actions, Mary had prepared Jesus for the final leg of his human journey. She had exhibited a sincere caring for him that was evident at every turn. Mary had anointed and prepared Jesus for his coming burial, and he felt loved.

Throughout these holy days, I pray that my Lenten journey toward the cross may be filled with enchanting moments – moments where I pay attention to details and exhibit a sincere caring for the comfort of others. May God use me as those around me are prepared for their own journeys, and may God be glorified as they feel loved.


Glorious God, thank you for clearly showing us that sin and death never win. Even when we struggle to be hospitable, you are busy pulling us from the grip of death and giving us new life. You are our God of life, and we ask that you continue to guide us with love as we offer you praise and glory. Amen.

© 2020 Saint Andrews United Methodist Church

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