By Nicole DeVries
Remember the woman caught in adultery? She was the pawn the Pharisees used to try and trap Jesus, to find a reason to accuse him. He was teaching when the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought this adulterous woman to him, made her stand there in front of him. They asked that a punishment be enacted. A stoning would have satisfied their thirst for justice. Jesus, well, he ignored them, started drawing in the sand. I am presuming he was hoping they would go away. But they didn't and he was forced to do something. What happened next was what I would consider a moment of pure brilliance, but for the Son of God, it was just child's play. Jesus looks up at the men and simply says “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.” Within minutes it's just Jesus and the woman who remain.
I wonder if she knew. Did she know she was standing in the presence of the only person worthy of throwing the stone? Did she know that he knew everything, all the sin she carried with her in that moment? Is there anyway she could have predicted what happened next? I wonder what I would have felt if I were her.
I made a vow to God and I didn't hold up my end of the deal. I was even gutsy enough to blog about it, thinking if enough people knew, I wouldn't fail.
But it was a long day. I was tired. My kids weren't listening. I'd had a disagreement with my husband and I am sure PMS was lurking around the corner. Oh, my rationalizations came far too easily. It was just a cookie. Truly there isn't anything wrong with eating a cookie.
Except I had said I wouldn't. The whole point of Lent was to deny myself, to die to my desires. But my desires took hold, ran over my resolve and in that moment, faced with my failure, I was reminded of so much.
I am a sinner. I sin. A whole bunch. It is ugly and nasty and it threatens to undo me.
It doesn't matter how hard I try, I can't change that. Only He can. That's why I observe Lent. It serves as a very tangible reminder that I am a sinner and I desperately need a Savior. My failures, my sin, all the ugliness that lives within me is made beautiful by the horror of the cross. Jesus, the only one worthy of throwing the stone, he took the punishment for me and washed me clean.
It's not about the cookie. (Or the chocolate I had the next week.) If I were to be hauled out and made to stand before Jesus, I would carry with me all of my sin. He would look at me with tender eyes, knowing each and every one of those sins, all of my failures, and he would say as he did to the woman, “I don't condemn you, go and sin no more.”
In Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem The Wreck of the Deutschland, Hopkins writes, “Let Him Easter in us, be a day spring to the dimness in us.” Used here “Easter” is a nautical term meaning to steer a vessel eastward into the light. Emilie Griffin says, “Throughout the forty days of Lent we have been heading toward the light, trying to shake the darkness...By walking with Christ, letting him easter in us, we mean to turn in the right direction.” It's all a journey.
So, I fail and I start over. I take the next step. I move towards him. I need a Savior and He is there. He is with me. He is for me. He is in me. He loves me. May he continue to easter in me, guiding me towards the light, one day, one step at a time.