Faith in the raw. A United Methodist Certified Lay Servant (aka Speaker, aka Preacher) blogging the Revised Common Lectionary as a spiritual discipline, with other random thoughts thrown in.
On Twitter: @thenakedalien.
Before Faith came, Law was our nanny. She protected us until we knew Faith. She made us wear galoshes and clean underwear until Faith saved us through Christ. But now that we live with Faith, we can jump in puddles in our good shoes and even go commando if we want. Through faith, we are all Abba's beloved children. You can choose to wear what ever you want, yet you seek baptism and clothe yourselves with Christ! You no longer seek to dress as one of an in-crowd, a clique, a gang. No more Christian or Atheist! No more Sinner or Saint! No more Male or Female! No more Old or Young! No more Black or White! No more Gay or Straight! For you are all One when you are One with Christ. Regardless of your ancestry, you are Abraham's spiritual progeny and heirs to his estate.
Jesus was eating at the table of Simon the Pharisee. I don't know if they were friends, if it was a business luncheon, or something else - but they were breaking bread together when a lone woman entered. All I heard is that she was a city girl. I don't know her name; I wish I did. She carried a very valuable jar containing expensive luxurious scented oil. As Jesus was reclining to eat in the Roman manner, she came up behind him. Her copious tears cleansed his mud and manure stained feet. She removed her veil, let down her long hair, and dried his feet while all stared at her in shock, in lust, and/or in judgement (or so I imagine.) Then she kissed Jesus! She kissed his feet over and over as she opened the jar of oil, and anointed the King.
The host said to those at the table: "If he really were a prophet, he would have known what kind of 'woman' she is. She is a sinner, and she has now made him unclean!" I guess the people at the table knew who she was even if we don't. What was her sin? Was she a whore? Was she an adulteress? Was she just an unmarried woman that people gossiped about? There's so much more that I want to know. I want to know her. I want to understand her need and her drive. I want to recognize and praise her bravery.
"Simon", Jesus said, "I have something to say."
"A kind banker had two people who owed him money. One owed $500, while the other owed $50. They both fell upon hard times, and could not repay their loans. The man took pity on them, and forgave them their debts! Tell me Simon, which one of these people love him more now?"
Simon: "I would imagine the one who owed the most?"
Jesus: "Correct. Look at her Simon. You invited me into your house, but showed me no hospitality. You gave me no water to wash with, but she gave me her precious tears. You gave me no towel, but she used her glorious hair. You did not embrace and kiss me in welcome, but she hasn't stopped kissing me! You did not anoint my head in respect, but she has anointed me in love. So hear me, Simon. Though her sins were many and her debts were great, they have already all been forgiven, (Aha! Just as I suspected: Jesus darned well knew who and what she was. Take that Simon you prig!) thus she loves me greatly. But you who have little to be forgiven, also love little!"
He leaned to her, held her face, and looked into her eyes with love. He reminded her: "You are forgiven."
Those at the meal spoke up: "Who are you that you think you can forgive sins? Heresy!"
Still looking at her, he said: "Your true faith and love have saved you; go now in peace."
Afterwards, Jesus and the Twelve went from town to town, teaching and preaching, healing and mending. Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Susanna and many other women came with them. Caring for the men. Supporting them. Paying their expenses.
When she heard that her husband had died in battle, she wept.
Once the formal period of mourning was over, the king sent troops to collect her. He took her. She had his child..
God was angry.
The Lord sent His prophet Nathan to David. "Your Majesty! There are two men in the city. One is rich. One is poor. The rich man has thousands of sheep in his flocks. The poor man has just one ewe that he raised from an orphaned lamb as a pet. It lives in his house, and is part of the family. The rich man has an unexpected guest. The tradition of hospitality dictates that he must feed the visitor, but since he is not pleased to have this visit, he does not want to "waste" one of his sheep on him. So he takes the poor man's sheep. He slaughters it. He feeds it to his guest as his own."
The king loved his subjects and was outraged: "Who is this man? I'll kill him for his lack of pity! Then I'll make his estate compensate the poor man four times over!"
Quietly, Nathan answered: "You, sire, are that man. God says to you: 'I made a little shepherd a king. I saved you from another king. I gave you his palace. I gave you his harem. I gave you his country. And if that weren't enough for you, I would have given you even more! Why do you despise me then? Why did you do commit this atrocity? Why did you rape her? Why did you kill her husband? He loved you both, and was loyal to you both, but you struck him down with a sword! You stole his wife! You slew him with another's sword! Since you love the sword more than you love me or your people, know that the sword will ever be in your house. You have shown your contempt for me. You have taken a good man's wife as your own."
David slumped: "I've sinned."
Nathan: "God hears your repentance and was forgiven you - you shall not die this day. But God can not forget your act. He can not forget your scorn. The product of your vile deed shall die."
After Nathan left, David's child became very ill...
(A retelling of 2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:10, and 12:13-15)