Jesus changes all the rules… and that can be hard for a group of his followers who really, really like rules and boundaries and decorum and tradition and quite frankly, for things to be clear. We want to know the rules so that we can get it right and know for a fact when others are getting it wrong. And even if this woman is ‘ok’ in his eyes… I’m not sure she is ok in ours.
Is it possible that in our attitudes we have become worse than Simon? Not just rolling our eyes at those who seek truth and forgiveness but actually blocking the path with walls of finger-pointing, eye-rolling and shame?
If we say ‘yes’ to those who are used to hearing ‘no’ – what will our friends think, what will become of The Church?
People…. could leave.
So we leave the door propped open, allowing them to be on the outskirts of the party… find their own way in… if they must. But we are sure to keep our distance.
As they reach for their alabaster jars of questions – full of passion for the Truth – we keep them from the feet of Jesus deeming them unworthy. “How dare they approach. Don’t worry Jesus, we’ll protect you.”
For when we distance ourselves from them, we distance ourselves from Jesus himself.
“Jesus offers forgiveness and acceptance that lifts the heavy burden of shame, allows the forgiveness of self, and offers the freedom of authentic life lived in love and gratitude[i].”
When we stand in the way of someone else, we also deny ourselves.
And so I ask each and every one of us gathered in this room – what is it going to be?
Do we languish in the order of the day, carefully marking what looks right and must be wrong or do we dive at the feet of mercy; pouring out love, erring on the side of grace?
When we ascend to the throne and Christ looks at those who are gathered at his feet will our backs be turned, so concerned with guarding Him that we forget to love Him?
Or will we be there pouring out our love and trust; bathing in God’s faithfulness and forgiveness, not caring who else may be splashed in the process.
And if it is the latter….
If the choice is made for love and trust; for faithfulness and forgiveness…
How beatiful the jar…
How sweet the ointment…
How pure the love that will be bestowed upon us as we hear the words….
Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
[i] David L. Bartlett & Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting on the Word. Year C, Volume 3. (Pastoral Perspective). p. 140.