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I volunteered at Tobar Mhuire Retreat and Conference Centre last year. Here, I wrote a blog post for their Lenten series. Enjoy!
And here is the actual transcript so I don’t lose it….
“When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream.” – Psalm 126:1
Have you ever been in a high stress situation? An emergency? A time where everything seems to slow down, and you have to focus? Where everything is crashing down around you, but somehow you make it? You survive. You figure it out. You are delivered. Then you look back on the impossibility of the situation, and feels like a dream. You wake up, and you’re okay, and you laugh because it felt so intense and high pressure at the time, but now you are free.
The Gospel reading from John 8:1-11 is a prime example of one of these dream-like situations. A woman who was caught in adultery is thrown before Jesus. Jesus is then asked by the Pharisees to condemn her as the Law commands, and this is where the dream begins: Jesus simply begins writing in the dirt. We don’t know what he wrote, but we know he took a break in his writing to say, “If there is one of you who has not sinned let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he kept on writing until everyone left. The woman was left behind with no one to condemn her, and neither did Jesus.
What I find so “dreamy” is how the details of the story are left out. There is no way to know what Jesus wrote. I imagine the story was used in early Christianity the same way it is now. We ask ourselves the question, “What do you think Jesus wrote?” Instead, a more important question might be, “What would Jesus write for you?”
What would Jesus have to write on the ground to transform your condemning heart? Even if you are condemning yourself. Like this woman, we’ve all experienced a time where we were in trouble, and we thought salvation, freedom, peace, forgiveness, healing, insert-your-desire-here, etc. etc. was impossible, but then there was a miracle, and we look back with joy, humor, love, grace, and mercy.
This is the picture that Psalm 126 brings to my mind. It’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come at the end of Holy Week. A message to keep it up. Now is the time to remember when you resurrected from an impossible situation, because another impossible situation is about to come–and just like the psalmist asserts, as loved children of God, we will all make it.
“They go out they go out, full of tears, carrying seeds for the sowing: they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.” – Psalm 126:6