They looked unto Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. - Psalm 34:5.
It might seem strange to start like this but here we go. In the Star Wars films we read in the opening titles "Long ago in a Galaxy far far away.." well similarly long ago in a book I read but can't remember the name of nor its author.. however I do remember that this book instilled some thoughts that had caused me to become more interested in and begin thinking more about the back stories when reading the actions and words of Jesus.
One highlighted area that I began to think more of was just before Jesus ascended into Heaven from earth. We read that He led his followers to Bethany. Why Bethany?
Reading of Bethany it seemed that this was a place of your ordinary people, a place of much suffering and hardship. From some sources the description for the name Bethany was "house of affliction" or "house of the poor". It was from here that we read that the Simon the Leper came from and that there may have actually been an almshouse, which would tie in with some of those descriptions. It was also the place reported where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived. Again here in there story there was much suffering and hardship before the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus himself.
Reading around these stories there is the obvious sufferings, physical infections, hardships and the general day to day difficulties of life yet, there is the opportunity to focus on the positive and the moments of light and hope that came into these hard times. It was there in Bethany that Mary herself, in front of many people, poured out the fragrant and expensive perfume upon Jesus, anointing his head. Mary did not care who was there, who would criticise her for who and what she had been in the way she previously lived her life. She was focused on the one who had came and gave hope for the hopeless, who brought light into the darkness, focused on the one who cared for the ones that nobody wanted to go near. She wanted to express her love for this Christ who had transformed her inner heart and she acted out a beautiful thing of worship that would be remembered throughout all ages.
We too have a choice. We do not take hardship and suffering lightly as these can be tremendously real but might I suggest that one of the the best things that we can do to help those around us is toturn our gaze upon Jesus in earnest prayer and worship. Just as Christ brought his followers to Bethany where all would see that there is indeed hope in His resurrection and power; like Mary andHis other followers we too can focus on Him and not be worrying who is there and who will see us, what family member maybe there to criticise us, but that we set our gaze fully upon Him and in THAT daily act of worship done in private or in public, will out pour from within our lives and be seen by all who are observing our Christian lives. Our prayer is that something of the joy, the adoration, and the unrestricted love of our hearts towards our Christ might become infectious and they too might find this hope and salvation that we find in our Lord Jesus Christ.