A Fragrant Offering
“Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:2-4, NIV).
A women’s luncheon and leaders’ recognition to be held following the Sunday morning service. The lunch could be a pre–prepared lasagna (one meat/one vegetable), salad and garlic bread to be cooked during the morning service. The final preparation to be handled by the Girl Guards, which is a way for them to earn a badge and serve the women. Dessert could be flower cupcakes purchased from a bakery or made by someone in the group who does cake decorating. The alternative could be that the women make them as a project the previous week.
For a centerpiece, cover a small round table with a white cloth. Place a large bouquet of multi- colored roses or carnations on the table with a Bible opened to John 12.
Set up round tables with white tablecloths, a bud vase and one flower—each a different color–around the room. Make large paper flowers to adorn the walls. You can find a tutorial on YouTube to make these flowers.
Place questions on the tables to stimulate table talk. Ask one woman at each table to lead the discussion.
- What is your favorite flower? Why?
- My favorite perfume is …
- The last time I got flowers was for ________ (occasion).
- If I were to describe myself as a flower or plant, it would be …
- The person I would like to give a bouquet of flowers to is _______ because ______.
Good afternoon and welcome to our women’s ministries luncheon. Today we celebrate women and women leaders of our congregation. Please find a seat at one of the tables and we will open our time together with a word of prayer and thanksgiving for our time together. Please be sure to save a seat for one of our Girl Guards who will be serving us so they can join us for lunch once everyone is served.
Women’s Ministries or HL Secretary opens in prayer.
Lunch and Table Talk
In John 12:2–4 we read about Mary, Martha and Lazarus who are good friends of Jesus and who often host Him in their home. But this time was a little different as they were giving a dinner in Jesus’ honor. Mary took her prized possession—her very best, most expensive and most fragrant perfume—and poured it out on Jesus’ feet as a lavish offering. I am sure most of you have heard of the squabble Mary and Martha had another time when Jesus was visiting. Martha was miffed that Mary just sat at Jesus’ feet and didn’t help her with the meal. Well, Mary is at it again and has upstaged everyone by pouring her perfume all over Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair. The fragrance was so beautiful and so aromatic that it filled the whole room. No one could help but notice her sweet sacrificial offering.
There are women among us today and within our congregation who have given offerings just like Mary through women’s ministries activities last year. Some gave behind the scenes with no notice at all (much like Martha) and others gave more recognizable gifts (like Mary). Each one gave sacrificially of their time and talent and I would like to recognize them today.
Would the following women please stand up at your tables:
- WM Secretary/Leader
- HL Secretary/Leader
- WM/HL Treasurer
- WM/HL Program Leader
(Recognize each woman who serves in a leadership position even if it is just coordinating snacks or taking attendance and call them by name.)
I want to personally thank you for helping me to minister to the other women in our group. As a token of my appreciation, I would ask that you take one of the bud vase flowers at the end of our time together. (If there are not enough, have extra bud vases available and take a flower from the center bouquet.) Yours has been a fragrant offering and I thank you for the individual gifts, talents and time you have given to our women’s ministries. You are each appreciated for what you add to our lovely garden of women.
Will you join me in a round of applause in appreciation for their service?
Like any garden, each plant or flower brings a special aspect and interest to the overall landscape. Some of the flowers in our garden are big and bold, while others are smaller and more delicate. Some have a spicy or heavy fragrance and others have little to no aroma at all. But it takes new shoots and new seeds to grow a garden and today, our garden is growing. We have several women who have been meeting with us in our various women’s ministry groups that would like to officially join our women’s ministries garden today.
I have asked a number of current members to assist me in welcoming these new women. I invite those volunteers to join me along with those who wish to be enrolled.
As an illustration of the differing talents, gifts, and personalities that are represented here already as well as among those who are joining us, I invite our current members to each pick a different color flower from our arrangement here at the front and present it to the new member along with their membership card and pin.
As you do, would you greet the new woman with the following greeting:
“I welcome you and look forward to the beauty and fragrance you will add to our garden known as ____________ Women’s Ministries.” I would now ask that you introcuce these women to the rest of us.
Thank you, for joining us and we do indeed look forward to tilling the soil of our garden together, as we each blossom and grow while giving the Lord our fragrant offerings of service and fellowship through our women’s ministries programs here at __________. Let’s give them a warm applause of welcome!
And now, will you turn to our Girl Guards who have served us this afternoon and thank them for their fragrant offering. Young ladies, you are the future of our women’s ministries and we look forward to the day when we can bring you into the fold of our garden as well. We would like each of you to take a flower from our bouquet as we give you a big round of applause.
Thank you all for coming today and celebrating with us! What a beautiful garden we have here at _______________ Corps. I can hardly wait to see how our garden grows in the coming year.
Let’s pray together as we close.