Pastor's Desk April 7, 2019
Apr 5, 2019
The story from the Gospel of John regarding the woman caught in adultery is one of the most defining moments in Jesus’ ministry. We are told that the woman was caught in the very act of adultery and her judges are most ready to stone her. Yet, Jesus refuses to stand above her, but rather gets down so he can look up at her and speak to her with compassion. He never refers to her sin, but only to her status as a woman, a child of God. He has no stone to throw, but only the gift of forgiveness and the challenge of a new way of life. There is no condemnation here. Jesus is here to save.
We are often too quick to throw stones. We often call each other names instead of referring to each other by name. We are often quick to judge with criticism and harsh words. We are challenged today to put aside our stones and to lift each other up with hearts of compassion and lives of forgiveness. This is not an easy task, but it is the hallmark of a true Christian. Love conquers hate while compassion overcomes quick judgment.
The prophet Isaiah speaks of God doing something new in our time. God is doing something new for and with his people. He is softening our hearts to be more compassionate and forgiving. As we celebrate this gift of forgiveness on our Lenten journey, we pledge to offer that same gift to those who wrong us. We must do and become something new. We can and will make a difference.
A few years ago, I offered parishioners a small gift of a stone. The stone was to be carried throughout Lent and all judgement and condemnation were to be set aside by holding on to the stone as a reminder that Jesus is our rock. The stones were then laid at the foot of the cross we venerated on Good Friday. While some did lay down their rocks that day, other continued to hold on to their rock so they could continue the work of reconciliation. I still carry my rock as well. Though I set it down on Good Friday, I retrieved it so I too could be reminded that I must do something new for the Lord.
In a world so quick to condemn and resort to name calling, we need to be the good news of God’s love, not only through the power of forgiveness, but in the power of the life of the Trinity that flows through us. It is not what the world expects. It truly is something new. The power of God renews us that we might renew our world in his love. God is still doing something new and exciting. We are too.