At the funeral service at which we both mourned the loss of and celebrated the life of Christy Hall, we heard about the way that Christy carried out the ministry of anointing in her life. She wrote supportive letters to her pastor every week. She wrote cards and letters to her friends and those who worked to assist her to care for herself. She bought presents and paid complements. She embodied ‘anointing.’
The 23rd Psalm reminds us of the great challenge of being a follower of God. We are called to sacrifice all in order to walk the path of justice, even when that leads us to join the ‘plebs,’ the ‘expendable,’ the ‘other,’ in their own suffering. This call and anointing demands much of us. But it also reminds us that it is not just the acts of great sacrifice, advocacy and risk that follow God. It is also in the simply acts of encouraging, appreciating, thanking, & complementing others that we walk the path.
It must be remembered however, that the table is the place where the alienated and the enemies sit together. So to truly carry out our calling, as anointed ones, to anoint others, that mission will not only include those whom it is easy to complement. It will also include reliance on the Holy Spirit to empower us to uplift the fallen, to see in them what God sees in them, which is potential, a beloved child, who may not now be precious and honored, but whom may be, could be, if they were believed in, supported and reminded of their value to God. That is a difficult challenge to take. To love and encourage those who are different, who are other, who do not live into the image of God.
Each day, if we pray the 23rd Psalm, we are reminded that despite our own sin, brokenness and failing, we are also anointed. God values and honors us, trusts and believes in our potential if we would simply leave behind the path of the world and follow Her path. Each day, through the 23rd Psalm, we are reminded of our value despite our brokenness. If we are blessed with this healing and encouraging reminder, how can we deny that anointing to others?
So the task is foremost to be more intentional about thanking people, complementing people, appreciating and encouraging people.
But the path then leads us to encouraging, supporting and uplifting those who have fallen, who continue to fall, who do not know how to make good safe decisions, who have been so scarred by a life of addiction, homelessness, poverty, violence, that they cannot believe that anything they do matters.
And that begins, not with charity for the poor and dispossessed and oppressed. It begins when we follow Christ and create relationship with them.
Where will you begin?