Imagine the sound of stones dropping onto earth. Thunk. Thump. The woman caught in adultery may have never heard a sweeter sound. Those stones meant to pummel her flesh now lay strewn around her. Each stone symbolizing her condemnation and the sins of her would be condemners.
The characters of this story each encourage and challenge our discipleships. At various times I have found myself in the position of the woman in need of grace. At other times I have had a stone in my Pharisaic hand ready to chuck it at someone else for their sin. In other situations I have had the nerve to call others to grace as Jesus does.
It would be easy to claim the role of the woman, the victim, in this story. We sin and receive the grace offered by Jesus and his call on others to also forgive. Jesus is the central hero figure who saves the woman from the crowd, but look at the Pharisees again today. They want to strike out at sin and sinners. Don’t we? We want to see the bad guy arrested, the jerk in the office fired, and the neighbour fined for those pesky overgrown weeds!
The Pharisees were right under the law. The woman deserved to be stoned according to the law of Moses. They were right! We often are right when we want to see sinners brought to justice. That is why their action of dropping the stones is so beautiful.
Lent confronts us with our own impulses of desire. It reminds us that we have the urges, capacities, and actions of sinners. We hope for and expect grace from Jesus and those around us, but do we have the bravery and humility to drop the stones we hold? Do we extend the grace we have received to others? Can we pray the words of the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us”?
Is Jesus calling you to drop your stones?
Holy Community Covenant Church