The Challenges to Love in Small Congregations
The story of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus with expensive perfumed ointment is one of the most beautiful in the gospels. Yet, while there is harmony between Mary and Jesus, that harmony does not extend to the wider group present. We see how Mary's example of love exposes the hearts of others in this "small congregation" and how it shows some of the challenges every small fellowship must overcome in order to fulfil Jesus' command to us to love one another. Preaching on this also brought home how personal the challenges in a sermon can feel when there are few in the congregation. We may think, "He must be speaking about me since there is no one else here like that!" It is then we must focus not on the preacher but on whether the words are true.