Thursday, May 16, 2013

Caught


Early the next morning he went back to the Temple. 
All the people gathered around him, 
and he sat down and began to teach them. 
The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman 
who had been caught committing adultery, 
and they made her stand before them all. 
"Teacher," they said to Jesus, 
"this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 
In our Law Moses commanded 
that such a woman must be stoned to death. 
Now, what do you say?" 
They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. 
But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger. 
As they stood there asking him questions, 
he straightened up and said to them, 
"Whichever one of you has committed no sin 
may throw the first stone at her." 
Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. 
When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. 
Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing there. 
He straightened up and said to her, 
"Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?" 
"No one, sir," she answered. 
"Well, then," Jesus said, "I do not condemn you either. 
Go, but do not sin again."
~John 8:2-11

I was reading about this woman this morning.
It's revealing to me of His heart that,
although He did assent to the 'justice' of her death sentence,
He, the Only Just Judge, remained inactive in her judgement,
stooping down with His hands on the dirt, and not on the stones. 
Refusing to condemn.
We are told to be like our Father in heaven,
who sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Raining mercy: indiscriminate blessings.

But also, that woman walked away knowing two things:
she was guilty as charged, and deserving of death,
but uncondemned, and given instruction
by the only One who could justly sentence her to stop it.
Stop this wickedness.
And doesn't it stun you that He works life and liberty out of such material?
That He speaks righteousness into the unrighteous?
That He makes of those who are not, something real and living?
His words have the power to rearrange our chaos into order.
To give life to the dead, and power to the powerless.
To make sons out of slaves, and foreign ones, at that.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We Sing In The Dark

I was awakened from a sound sleep at 4:17 this morning.
I lay there listening, wondering why I was awake.
Softly, softly, I heard a tinkling sound, far away and indistinct.
It puzzled me.
What was it?
Maybe the wind chimes... Was it windy out?
I couldn't hear any wind.
But since it didn't stop, I got up and opened the door to the hall.
I listened, and it was still there, musical and mysterious.
I walked quietly down the stairs, trying to hear it above my footsteps.
I opened the door to the living room:
the cat looked curiously up at me from the couch.
Stopping and listening again, I recognized a chorus of birds,
singing to the unrisen sun.
It made me smile.
"Don't you know it's four seventeen?" I thought.

I thought about the birds, singing in the dark, while I fell asleep again.
About Jesus saying, '"But when these things begin to come to pass,
look up, and lift up your heads;
because your redemption draweth nigh."
And He spake to them a parable:
Behold the fig tree, and all the trees:
when they now shoot forth, ye see it
and know of your own selves that the summer is now nigh.
Even so ye also, when ye see these things coming to pass,
know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh."'
He said it to them in reference to terrors.
To things that made them want to faint in fear.

Like the birds, we sing in the dark.
We look forward to the Sonrise, the breaking of the Day.
And though we sing in the dark,
we sing of the return of the Light:
of summer; the budding of leaves;
the fruit on its way;
and the Kingdom of God.
Perhaps our singing will awaken a sleeper.
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