Friday, 25 November 2016

Holding the space, drawing the lines

John 8:2-11
Early in the morning he 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.”]]

Thrust into his space
with no formal contract
but with clear expectations:
Condemnation - the only conceivable outcome
in the eyes of the Scribes and Pharisees
But not in the alternative kingdom 
which Jesus modelled
In the space where he taught
and held folk to account
to live out Scripture
He freed the woman caught in adultery
and freed the Scribes and Pharisees
from their self righteousness.
He drew a line in the sand
and then straightened up,
looked the women in the eye
and set her free
from condemnation
from vulnerability
From the powerful
whose power diminished
in the face of truth
and integrity
and compassion.
In the face of such subversion
we are called
to lay down our stones
and to open our hearts
to be vulnerable
with the other,
holding the space
where power and vulnerability 
can be exchanged
as one ministers to the other,
as we give ourselves
and in the giving
find healing
and forgiveness
and newness of life.

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