In Lent

40 Day Journey with Our Neighbors in Solidarity

Week 6: Lutheran Campus Ministry (LuMin)
Written By: Rachel Nelson – LuMin the Hills (BHSU & School of Mines)


John 12:1-8

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them[a] with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”


When the students that I work with start chatting about their classes and projects, a common phrase overheard is, “I felt the same way in that class!” or “It was hard for me, too.” Connections like these lead to a palpable sense of relief in the room. It’s not like finding out that someone can relate to you is going to make that upcoming test any easier, but there is comfort in the simple fellowship of “I get it.” Even more potent is when a student can share with another something deeply personal, and know they won’t be judged. We make it a practice to check in with each other during almost every gathering by sharing our Junk, Joy, and Jesus moments since the last time we gathered. We talk about things that are maybe not so great in our lives(Junk), something that brought smiles to our faces (Joy), and where did we see God in our daily lives? (Jesus).  It’s amazing how comforted the students are to know that they are not alone in what they are dealing with. Just knowing that someone “gets it” can make a huge difference in your life.
Judas, when he asks, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” does not get it. He hasn’t bothered to try to understand what’s going on. What he’s not seeing is that Jesus is preparing to die. Mary understands what is going to happen to Jesus. When she anoints Jesus’ feet, it is with burial perfume. Without words, she is telling Jesus, “I get it.” She knows that he is heading towards death, and she offers a gift not only of perfume, but of empathy. Mary knows that Jesus is the servant whom the prophet Isaiah foretold, who would:

 “…bring forth justice to the nations.

2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,

    or make it heard in the street;

3 a bruised reed he will not break,

    and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

    he will faithfully bring forth justice.

4 He will not grow faint or be crushed

    until he has established justice in the earth;

    and the coastlands wait for his teaching.”

(Isaiah 42:1b-4)

In a room full of friends who don’t fully understand what is about to happen, can you imagine how comforting it must have been for Jesus that Mary knew who he really was, and that he would bring about the justice of which Isaiah prophesied? 


What can you do to offer comfort to the suffering? (Even during a time when we may not be able to be face-to-face)


Creator God, help us to show empathy to your children. Help us to “get it” when people tell us what is going on in their lives, and help us be a comfort to them, as You are a comfort to us. Amen


Take time to reflect on your day. What didn’t go so well? What brought you joy? Where did you sense God’s presence in your life? Make it a habit to write your “Junk, Joy & Jesus” in a journal.