Monday, 7 April 2014

No condemnation



John 8:1-11
Early in the morning Jesus came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Writing on the ground
Doodling in the dust
Buying himself some time to think?
Or doing his best to ignore the folk
who were trying to catch him out?
I like to think that Jesus
was just trying to get it right
Working out the best way
to ensure the woman's freedom 
and to make her accusers think.
As he forced them to face
their own failings
they trickled off
into the shadows.
And Jesus was left
alone with the woman 
who expected
that Jesus, too,
would bring condemnation.
Just imagine her surprise,
her bemusement
perhaps her disbelief
as Jesus
sets her free
encouraging her
to "sin no more"
A story
doodled in the dust
then smoothed over 
the traces no longer visible
The charges
no longer standing.
A woman changed forever
by forgiveness.
And where, today
can we kick over the traces
of the past
changing the future
powerfully
by refusing to condemn
and by practising forgiveness.

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