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The Christening – A Poem

At a party,
when a woman,
without giving notice,
anointed Jesus with perfumed oil,
his fellow guests objected to its expense,
which could have been put to use serving the poor.
But in that extravagant act,
Jesus was made Christ, the Anointed One.

Men were made kings of Israel
with coronations of oil poured over their heads
by other powerful men in pompous ceremony.
Jesus was ennobled by surprise
by a powerless woman
of questioned repute
with fragrant oil
poured over him to excess.

And from her,
as profligately as with the oil,
love flowed out and over and into him.
Love without viscosity,
sinking into him
between and around and into his every pore and cell,
lubricating away every point of friction
between him and the world he was meant to serve;
loosening him from the rust of dogma and convention,
releasing his heart and mind
into unbounded empathy
for the sufferings and yearnings of others.

So the fine oil of love rises out of the hidden depths
through cracks in the hard strata of the world,
so subtle we cannot see, but only feel it
when, drawn to us, it finds its way
and seeps in.

At all costs, let us receive it
and share it
with abandon.

(See more of my “musings” here…)

JIM BURKLO

Pastor, United Church of Christ, Simi Valley CA

Executive Director, Progressive Christians Uniting/ZOE: Progressive Christian Life on Campus

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