This image began as a sketch during one of the morning reflections prior to the days lectures on ‘Sex and Gender’. St John’s college Chaplain, Kate Bruce brought an interesting perspective on John 12:1-11 illuminating the sensuality and sexuality of Mary’s anointing of Jesus’ feet. It’s not something that we come across often and it has a tendency to make us feel a little uncomfortable (especially men) and yet in view of the preceding events – the resurrection of her brother Lazarus – it perhaps makes sense. Her response is one of offering in devotion and dedication, a giving of herself and all that she is to the one she recognises as her redeemer, her saviour and her God.
In the image I depict Mary as naked and use the rich warm surrounding colours to bring out this idea of sensuality and sexuality. In reality she would have been clothed but that would not convey the raw sensual power of the encounter. Kate suggested that maybe Judas’ comments about the waste of perfume were more of a sort shock reaction.
I don’t believe that God wants us to get naked with him in response to our salvation and redemption, nothing is ever hidden from God anyway, but perhaps the utter surrender of all that we are, our whole being, to Christ in full devotion and dedication is as shocking and is perhaps the only right thing for us to do. (echoes of Romans 12:1?)