Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Way of Sin, Way of Grace -- Meditation

With the lectionary we are able to work our way through the Scriptures, hearing the voice of Scripture in its various forms.  I began today writing a weekly devotional meditation for the newly relaunched Disciples of Christ blog [D]mergent.  With the demise of the journal Disciples World, Disciples are being creative in finding ways to communicate.  I invite you to check out the posts on this new blog.

1 Kings 21:1-21a

Galatians 2:15-21
Luke 7:36-8:3

The Way of Sin and the Way of Grace

There is a way of life that leads to destruction. It’s one that is marked by qualities such as cruelty, deceit, and greed, qualities embodied by the characters of Ahab and Jezebel. In the story found in 1 Kings 21, Ahab wants something that’s not his, and when he can’t have it he pouts. His wife, however, who seems much more clever than Ahab, and having a keen understanding of power, achieves Ahab’s desire through deceit and craft. In the end, an innocent man is executed on the basis of false but scandalous accusations, allowing the king to seize the desired property. Enter the prophet Elijah, who declares to Ahab that a life such as his will lead eventually to destruction.

In the Gospel of Luke, we read the story of a woman who was known to be a sinner – the nature of the sin isn’t recorded so it’s left to our imaginations, and you know where that leads. According to the Gospel, the unnamed woman enters the home of a religious leader, a pious fellow, who was hosting a lunch that featured Jesus as special guest. The host of the party, a Pharisee named Simon, is scandalized when she began to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and with her hair – and Jesus didn’t object. Indeed, the real scandal in this case wasn’t the action of the woman, but those of Jesus, who didn’t reject her actions. The pious ones in the crowd, were scandalized that a holy man such as Jesus would allow himself to be defiled by the touch of a sinner.

In two stories, one from the Old Testament and one from the Gospels, we see expressions of sin. In the first story there is deceit and greed, in the second – self-righteousness. The woman is declared a sinner, but we don’t know the nature of her sin. By her faith, her trust in God’s grace, she is declared forgiven. But are Ahab and Simon ready to receive forgiveness?  (to continue reading, click here)

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