Myrrh bearers

Myrrh bearers

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.” Luke 24:1.

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Spend some time meditating on this icon from, maker of Orthodox Christian iconography. This is a picture of one of the myrrh bearers, one of the women taking spices to the empty tomb before dawn on an Easter morning. This is what I think Christ calls us to do. We are to bring what is costly to us, our intellect, our feelings, our intuitions, simply our presence, and look for the Christ in the world. We are called to look especially for Christ in those we think are physically and spiritually and mentally dead. We can only find Christ when we give of ourselves, freely, even when we sometimes know it may be dangerous.

We carry with us precious perfumes, costly spices. This is what each of our lives is made up of.

When we have been harmed or have sinned against our neighbor and cannot forgive or accept forgiveness, our life is closed up. We build walls, thick walls, tall walls. We do not want anyone to get in to see our own ugliness or we live in fear that we will be harmed again. We are like a jar filled with this precious oil closed tight. When we accept forgiveness and forgive, we lift up the top, and the bottle is opened.

Now myrrh is not the sweet pungent aroma like frankincense. It is earthy, woody, smoky. It is derived from a hardened tree sap. Myrrh has been used for thousands of years and is mentioned in the Bible over one hundred fifty times. It was used as a natural remedy, an antiseptic to treat wounds, and to purify the dead.

After this oil has been blessed, we might put some in a small dish and use it a healing service symbolically letting its aroma seep through the walls around our bodies, letting it purify the dead parts of ourselves, letting it heal our wounds and bring us back to a life in the resurrection.

But there is more. Next we are being asked now to go out into the world carrying within us or on us the precious myrrh that was shared with us. We are now myrrh bearers to heal each we see and meet in the world.