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MPC Lenten Journey - 40 Days with the Holy Spirit

Holy Week, Wednesday, Julia Rodriguez - A Faithful Woman


A Faithful Woman

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:1-9

Again, today, Passover is only a couple days away and I am reminded of the stories of this woman. In honoring the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus it’s important we hear her story. This is a woman Jesus loved- her name is Mary, her sister is Martha, her brother is Lazarus (John 11-12). This is also the woman who “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said (Luke 10:39).”

What I see in and learn from this woman is an expectant person, in awe of the teachings and doings of Jesus, inspired by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is brave and willing to go against the social norms to be with and serve the Messiah. I think of this woman and speculate that she probably had very little in terms of possessions and assets, but she does have this very expensive perfume. In pouring the perfume over Jesus’ head she brings her everything to Him.

What I’m attracted to in this story is the humility and faith of this woman. As she takes the jar, breaks it, offends many people to prepare the Lord for burial and is rebuked, our Lord protects her, and blesses her. I wonder, would I have been this faithful, this brave? Am I today, this faithful, and this brave? Well, if I’m being honest, I am not, and I haven't been- but I want to be.

I know with all my heart, and mind, in the depths of my soul and with all my strength, which sometimes feels like none, that He’s worth it, and with His grace, He has at the cross gently proved it, and in my brokenness will continue to prove it.

My prayer is that as we look to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we’d do so with the faith and humility of this woman.

Julia is so grateful to call Malibu Pres her home. She recently completed a Masters in Theology, and is excited to continue a lifelong call of joining Jesus in ministry, however he’d call. She loves learning, serving others, cooking, and spending time in nature with her loving partner, Scott.

A note from Saona, Director of Adult Ministries at MPC: Today I want to take a moment to thank Julia for her humble and faithful service at Malibu Pres. I have had the opportunity to work closely with her this year, but her time goes back to when she was a student at Pepperdine, close to 7 years now. Julia cares about God's creation in the most beuatiful and thoughtful ways. She loves people so well - with conversation, written words, acts of service. Julia excells in detailed work, organization, and administrative tasks that often goes unnoticed. In nine months she has twice cleaned out and reorganized our infamous "fellowship hall closet" which contains the "stuff" we use for all our ministries. It's the job no one wants to do and no one has vision for. This year she willingly took on big roles for our Women's Christmas tea and Easter hospitality. Julia has prepared the most delicious desserts, soups, snacks, and retreat meals for UM all year long. For several years now, she has poured into and cared for our Seasoned Saints. Julia has kept things organized and running smoothly all year in our Adult Ministries and University Ministries. Furthermore, I have witnessed Julia preach, teach, and lead with grace and conviction. It's been important to hear her perspective on such things as caring for the body (and soul), emerging adulthood, creation care, missions and evangelism, loving God and loving our neighbor as our self, Sabbath rest, and much more. It's been important to hear her story, especially as it's unfolded in the midst of our church family. We have been blessed by your incredible, extravagant love, Julia, and know that we are grateful for every detail of service (seen and unseen) that you have done for all of us at MPC. Please join me over the next few weeks as we wholeheartedly send-off Julia to where God is calling her in life and ministry. I hear the words of Jesus spoken to Julia: "She has done a beautiful thing to me" (Mark 14:6).