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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Sunday, April 3
Isaiah 43:16-21
John 12:1-8

The Eyes of Faith

by Hikari K. Chang

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” —Isaiah 43:19a
“The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” —John 12:3b

Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” We are watching terrifying scenes of deaths and injuries caused by diseases, natural disasters, accidents, and wars. As we turn our eyes away, blaming a person and politics with a numb heart, Lent calls us to “see” deeper and more honestly what is happening in the world and our lives. Cruelty, greed, and indifference are, indeed, all within us before pointing our fingers at others.

Mary’s act of breaking the jar and pouring the costly perfume on Jesus’ feet were criticized harshly, for by worldly standards, it was wasteful and foolish. But Jesus could “see” her deepest love and gratitude to him. As we draw near to Good Friday, we remember that Jesus did not hold back his love for us. Just as Mary gave the best of what she had to offer, even more so Jesus gave the best of what he had – his life for our salvation.

The fragrance of perfume from the broken jar filled the house. Fragrance is invisible but evokes special impressions and wonders. What kind of fragrance are we offering; is it stinky and sour, or comforting and joyful, reflecting Christ’s love and compassion?

“I (God) am about to do a new thing; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19a) While pain and sufferings of people have deepened in Ukraine, bold compassion and radical love have sprouted in the stubborn hearts around the world, even as far as in Japan. So, what do we “see”?


God of life, give us the eyes of faith today so that we may more clearly “see” who we are and what God is doing with us and through us in the world. Amen.

Hikari K. Chang, a UMC clergy and Regional Missionary of United Women in Faith, is currently serving at Wesley Foundation in Japan.

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