“Portrait of the woman with the alabaster jar.” 2009. Benedict Edet.
We can talk about why she did it
	break the jar
	pour oil on his head
Or did she wash his feet with her tears
	and dry them with her hair?

We can talk about her name
	Was it Mary of Bethany
		sister of Martha?
	Was it Mary Magdalene
		rumored wife of Jesus?
	or a prostitute 
	or a sinner
		(aren’t we all)
	or just a woman 
                with an alabaster jar

We can talk about the extravagance
	the lushness
        the expense
Spikenard, the rarest and most precious of oils
	earthy 
        bittersweet
	with woody green overtones
Ancient Egyptians used it in embalming mummies
		(the symbolism!)

We can talk about the objections
		What a waste of money!
		Don’t you know there’s poor people in Bethany?
	Or was it that he let a sinner touch him?
		What a disgrace

We can go deep into the exegesis
	Compare the four accounts
		Were they even the same woman?
		Is this even the same story?
		But what about the poor?
	Connect back to Deuteronomy 15:11

We can do all these things
	as long as we tell her story
Let’s celebrate the woman with the alabaster jar
	stranger, sister, wife, sinner
	Mary
Let’s dress up like her and make perfume
	Make clay jars
	and then break them
	Anoint one another for our burials
		(Why wait until we’re dead?)

Let’s paint her picture 
	and have extravagant feasts 
	in her honor
                so that

Wherever the good news is proclaimed 
               (in the whole world!)
what she has done
will be told
in remembrance 
of 
her

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