Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sun. July 17, 2011 (Chelle Stearns)

On July 17th, Chelle Stearns (Theology Professor) spoke on "The Un-named Woman" (Matthew 26.6-13), the second in our summer series on women in the bible. It had been a busy week for Jesus, with the 'triumphal entry' into Jerusalem got things rolling. The morning's s story took place while Jesus and students were being hosted at the house of "Simon the leper", who is otherwise unknown to us. Chelle approached the story through a painting by "Arcabas" (Jean-Marie Pirot) who has been working primarily in Saint-Hugues-de-Chartreuse but also in Ottawa. His paintings are often inspired by biblical stories, as is true for "L'Onction de Nard" ('The Nard Ointment', but Catholics would also read "extreme-onction" into the title, as in Last Rites). In this work we see the faces of Jesus and the woman at the moment at which she is pouring out the costly nard perfume (from the Himalayas) on the head of Jesus. Jesus is portrayed as accepting this unusual gesture or "anointing". The woman is shown wearing the garb of an early-20th-c. nun, suggesting that she is declaring herself to be celibate, possibly (like nuns) being 'married' instead to Christ, and that the very expensive perfume represented the marriage dowry which she was forgoing in order to work with the poor (an interpretation added by later tradition). Her otherwise ridiculous act is portrayed by the gospel writer as being a prophetic anointing which proclaims the Jesus is the Messiah, something she was possibly led to do by the Holy Spirit. We, too, are called to be like this woman and name Jesus. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, July 17th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.

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