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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sunday sermon

Second Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 6C
Luke 7:36-50

“Do you see this woman?”

That's what he asked. Not in a loud voice, mind you, but it still carried. Everyone heard him-- and then everyone looked at me. And there was nowhere to hide.

I knew I didn’t belong there, knew that I wasn’t welcome. I’m not the kind of person who would be welcome at that kind of dinner. Heck, I’m not the kind of person who’d be welcome serving that kind of dinner. The life I’ve lived... the choices I’ve made... There’s a lot that I’m not proud of, there. Can’t say as I blame them, really.

But this man... this man’s different. I went to hear him earlier, just out of curiosity. He’s caused a bit of a stir around here, you know. It seemed like everybody was talking about that preacher from Nazareth. So I took myself up to where he and his followers were staying, to see what the fuss was about. There was already a crowd when I got there, so I couldn’t hear much. I thought for a moment about trying to push through, to get closer... but no. I’d just get those looks, and hear the muttered comments... and I don’t need any more of that.

But then the crowd shifted, and parted, and they came through. Simon was walking along in the way that powerful men do-- confident and assured, talking and smiling; and Jesus was beside him, listening, nodding his head as they moved along. Then, as they came to where I was standing, he raised his eyes, and he looked at me.

That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Almost trivial. “He looked at me.” Looking back, I suppose it really was only for a moment; they moved on, and I doubt that anyone even noticed. Certainly Simon didn’t. But that moment changed me. Because in those dark eyes there was... I don’t know how, but I could tell that he saw who I was, and where I’ve been, and what I’ve done... all of it. And yet, in that knowing, there was no condemnation, no disdain. Nothing but the knowing... and love. It may only have been a moment, but I have never in my life been loved like that.

I followed them, then, to Simon’s house. No, wait, that’s not quite right. I stopped along the way, at a small shop, and bought a jar of ointment. I hardly realized what I was doing-- simply put my bag on the counter, all the money I had, and said , “Give me what this will buy.” I didn’t care, didn’t count the cost. I only knew I needed to do this, needed to have something to give, to offer...

Then I walked-- I ran-- to Simon’s house, and made my way inside, and saw him. I couldn’t help myself; I fell to the ground at his place. I was sobbing... the tears poured down my face, and fell on his feet. He turned, then, and looked at me, again. I had no towel, and my hair had come loose as I ran; so I used it to dry him, before I opened the ointment, warmed it in my hands, and placed it on his skin.

I didn’t need to look up to know what people would be thinking. “Shameless,” they’d whisper; and I guess I was. But I didn’t care.

He and Simon talked then. I don’t remember much of what they said-- until he turned, and pointed to me, and said those words.

“Do you see this woman?”

Then, with all those honored guests looking on, he talked about what I had done. He said that what I had offered him was welcome. That it was more than that important man had offered. That it was acceptable... that I was acceptable. That my past was past, and forgiven, and done.

And then, he spoke to me. Gently, and kindly... to me. “Your faith has saved you,” he said; “Go in peace.” Go, to start again. Go, to be different, better than before. To try to look at others, the way he looked at me. To see beyond sin, and failure, and the trappings of power, and the standards of the world.

See this woman... See this man... See-- as He sees.


Blogger Dawgdays said...

See as he sees...

...Every person as deserving of our love, Christ's love, God's love.

...No person as deserving our disdain, hatred, rejection.

...Every one of us as a child of God.

July 02, 2004 8:45 PM  

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