The Bell Lap, a Lenten Devotion

Throughout Lent, we’re featuring devotions by members of a writing group at First Baptist Church, Southern Pines, NC.

John 12:1-8

In long-distance swimming, the last two lengths of the pool are called “the bell lap.” When swimmers reach the final 2 lengths of the pool in competitions, an official rings a bell while a numbered counter-chart is flipped to orange and lowered into the water to spur the swimmers to one final surge.

The day before a young mother’s last day of chemo treatments, she drove to the local swim club to pick up her son from practice. As she neared, she noticed her friend and former swim coach standing in the turn lane. With one hand he rang a large gold bell above his head, with the other he swung an orange lap counter.

Just seeing her friend would have made this survivor smile. He was among the five people who had most influenced her life and his encouragement and prayers throughout her cancer journey had been invaluable. But the symbols in his hands reminded her that this was her chemo bell lap—time to rally!

As Jesus and his disciples and friends recline at the table, Mary enters the room, breaks open a precious bottle of perfume, and uses it all to anoint her Lord. Though Jesus’ disciples don’t understand why she’s doing this, Jesus does. These are his last days before his death. This is his bell lap, the final stretch in the race marked out for him. And Mary both honors his coming sacrifice and encourages him to finish strong.

How can you acknowledge Jesus’ significance in your life this week? How can you honor him?

Lord, challenge me to open my heart in service and love to those whom I encounter this week. Show me the ways you wish to be honored in my everyday life. Amen.

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