Alabaster Jars

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes


Dear Christ Church,

Malcolm Guite wrote seventy sonnets for the Christian year. He is a poet, Anglican priest and singer-songwriter in Cambridge, England. He wrote one poem for the feast day of Mary Magdalene, which was last Monday. She’s the one, remember, who had seven evil spirits cast out of her, who provided financial and domestic help to Jesus and his disciples and who, according to St. John, was the first witness of the risen Christ. The tradition holds that she is also the one who anointed the feet of Jesus with perfumed oil from an alabaster jar. Some lines from Guite:

Men called you light so as to load you down,
And burden you with their own weight of sin,
A woman forced to cover and contain
Those seven devils sent by Everyman.
But one man set you free and took your part,
One man knew and loved you to the core.
The broken alabaster of your heart
Revealed to him alone a hidden door,
Into a garden where the fountain sealed,
Could flow at last for him in healing tears

Gospel gratitude breaks the alabaster jar and a perfumed aroma pleases the Lord. Through that brokenness, Christ gains access to a secret garden behind a hidden door. Now, He is the seat of desire, the place of deepest longings and holiest passions. Because of Christ, the fountain is no longer sealed. Living waters and healing tears flow. Redemption. Restoration.

One man set us free and took our part. Let’s break the alabaster jars.