Tag Archives: bible

Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone

let he who is without sin cast the first stone

Reclaiming the spirit of the law

(Repost)

A feverish look shines from the eyes of a young woman as three men in cloaks of fine linen march her into the village square. Her skin is the color of olives; her long, dark hair is not plaited.  She wears a plain robe woven from wool and on her feet sandals of leather. Derisive catcalls and cries of “Adulterer!” “Harlot!” greet her from the gauntlet through which she is pushed and prodded. The white disk of the noonday sun allows no  forgiving shadows.

 The local Inquisitors are using the young  woman as bait, setting a trap to ensnare an itinerant rabbi from far-off Nazareth, who teaches in parables and dares to question their authority. They confront him as he stands near the well, observing the trial about to begin. The laws of Moses command that adulterers be stoned, they taunt him, what say you about this one?

Jesus knows his foes well, these thin-lipped dogmatists of the letter of the law. In all their studies of the prophets, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. He has foiled their stratagems before, and he regards them with an expressionless scorn. The crowd impatiently awaits his reply.  Stones in hand, they have their work to do.  Jesus does not speak immediately. Looking  over the crowd, he  says in a voice that carries to the far side of the square:

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.”

Jesus fixes a steady gaze on the Inquisitors, as their smirk of arrogance fades. Those among the crowd who a minute ago were crying for the woman’s blood now have silent tongues. The faintest of breezes rustles the leaves on the sycamore trees. Somewhere in the distance, a child cries. The  Pharisees are reduced to shuffling away in silence; not a word of response have they spoken. They are convicted by their own consciences. The crowd disperses, pondering Jesus’ words. “What does it mean?” a voice asks. No one has a ready answer.

The young woman alone remains with Jesus. She stands silently, in a daze. The cold sweat trickles down her back. I do not condemn you, Jesus says, and she feels the strength returning to her legs. She begins to weep, as relief flows  through her like a river. But Jesus is not one for situational ethics.    He places a hand on her shoulder and says,  “Go, and sin no more.” Before leaving, the woman gets a cool cup of water from the well and offers it to Jesus. He smiles, but with sadness in his eyes, and thanks her.

For one sun bleached afternoon, the law tempered with mercy is redeemed from the ones with bloodless lips who would see it etched into stone. Jesus has spared a woman who broke one of Moses’ laws; in so doing, he has invited the wrath of the patriarchs.  Jesus knows that soon they will have their day.

Photo Challenge: Consider the Lilies of the Water

Consider the lilies of the field (or water), how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Matthew, 6:28

Michigan’s summer treasures include an  abundance of green, which often floats on local lakes as well as carpeting the land.

Photo Challenge:  Green 

 

Kensington Park, Michigan

Living Water

Au Sable RiverToday’s Americans prefer endless and fruitless political combat to the restoring waters of reconciliation.  The choice is in favor of self-destructive behavior rather than life.

A woman of Samaria came to the village well to  draw water.   Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”

 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

In today’s America, Republicans and Democrats disdain to drink from the same well.   How far have we devolved in 2,000 years?

May we choose in future to drink the living water of tolerance.

Anger Deferred

The discretion of a person defers his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a provocation.–Proverbs 19

I guess there’s a reason that people have been turning to Proverbs in search of wisdom for 3,000 years.     Of course, it’s one thing to read this–even believe it–and a much more difficult task to live it.  Difficult, but profoundly rewarding.

newburgh lake, michigan

Photo Challenge: Silver Springs of Optimism

Reminiscence of an early summer day at Iargo Springs, a season when hope seems eternal.  The silver waters  flow into the Au Sable River in northern Michigan, and then into the Great Lakes, eventually joining the waters of the Atlantic.

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from where the rivers come, there they return again.
Book of Ecclesiastes  1:7

 

Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

Iargo Springs, Michigan

Iargo Springs, Michigan