Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and Pastor Nathan Martin from Christian Challenge preached an interesting message on the difference between Palm Branch praise and Perfume Box praise. (The recording is posted to their website. I listened to it tonight...)
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the people worshipped him with Palm Branches and shouts... but they did it because their expectations of Him were different than what He really was. They worshipped Him because they thought He would rescue them from their political and economic situation. These same people, not long after, call for Jesus to be crucified.
Palm Branch praise was loud and demonstrative... and cheap. Not only was it shallow, the palm branches probably didn't cost people anything, they just ripped them off the trees.
He contrasts that with Mary's worship -- breaking the perfume box and washing Jesus' feet with it. The perfume was expensive. The expression of worship was not public, not loud, not meant to draw attention... but it was real. It was personal.
There's a lot more to the message, but I'll let you listen for yourself and find that out!
I'm getting ready for a big weekend at my church. We're having five services this weekend -- five separate Easter Egg hunts for the kids -- five separate times for folks to get baptized...
And you know what else? At least five opportunities for me to lose sight of what Easter is really all about... at least five different opportunties for me to choose whether I worship with a Palm Branch or a Perfume Box.