Bob Yoder, Goshen College’s campus pastor, spoke during Monday’s chapel titled “Holding on and Letting Go.” A time of anointing followed where students, faculty and staff were encouraged to “go and be moved to love with the love of God.”

Yoder spoke on John 12:1-8, the passage in which Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume. Placing the story in context, Yoder reminded the audience that Jesus had just healed his friend, Lazarus, and had promptly gone into hiding. After returning, Lazarus risked his safety to “host a man for dinner with a death sentence,” Yoder said, referring to Jesus.

It was at this dinner party that Mary poured out a pint of perfume on Jesus’ feet. The fragrance undoubtedly scented the room and Mary’s hair for hours, if not days. How did Mary buy the perfume? Did she have a job? Yoder asked, taking a look at the logistical side of the situation.

On a more serious note, what kind of an impact did the anointing have on Jesus? We read in the next chapter that Jesus washes his disciple’s feet. “Did Mary’s actions move Jesus to wash his own disciples’ feet?”  mused Yoder.

Just before the Triumphal Entry, Last Supper and Betrayal, John 12:1-8, narrates a turning point in Jesus’ life and ministry. Likewise, Yoder challenged students, faculty and staff to think about the turning points in their own lives. To symbolize God’s presence and love during these times, Yoder anointed about 50 students “with the love of God” so that they would be “moved to love with the love of God.”