Jesus is sitting at the dinner table – well, reclining in a Roman fashion, probably, when a strange woman comes in and pours expensive ointment on his feet and wipes them with her hair.
You can’t really blame the host of the dinner party for wondering what’s going on. But very simply, this woman wants to express her love for Jesus. Maybe she’s seen him perform healing miracles; maybe she’s heard him talk about the love of God which will forgive all her sins… she wants to do something to express her love and so she anoints Jesus’ feet.
It’s a great story of extravagant love – that wastes all that expensive ointment. So it’s a good story to hear in a baptism service – because this baptism is all about a sign of extravagant love. But as we baptize Emilia/Zac it is not our love of God that we are celebrating, but God’s love for her/him. An extravagant love, a love that doesn’t count the cost, a love that has been there from the first day of life and will be with Emilia/Zac through every day that is to come.
We are here to celebrate God with us, the love of God for Emilia/Zac and each one of us, and we are here to express our desire to act on that love of God by loving in return. And so we offer Jesus the most valuable thing we have – not a pot of ointment – but our lives, and we try to follow Jesus, and to help Emilia/Zac to follow Jesus, from this day and forever. Amen.