Scripture Readings for March 27, 2023
Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62, Psalm 23:1-6, John 8:1-11
There’s an amazing contrast in today’s readings. An innocent person and a guilty person are both saved by God’s actions. To make the contrast even more compelling it’s the same alleged crime, adultery. Committed supposedly by a member of the same powerless group of people, women. That is so clear and powerful we should stay with that and ask simply what that says to us?
God rescues both an innocent person and a guilty person. There’s a serious difference between guilt and innocence but God’s action is the same. That tells us something wonderful about God. God’s love and mercy are real and clearly beyond our typical understanding. All of which suggests should we take it at face value. We need to accept that God’s care, love and actions are there to support us not condemn us. We can read Psalm 23 and believe what is said.
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff that give me courage.
The challenge, of course, is our own feelings. Guilt, shame, perhaps righteous indignation at things we’ve experienced or seen. We need to remember we aren’t God. Whatever stuff we have to deal with has to be faced honestly, openly and with the other people involved. Both the stories in Daniel and John’s Gospel occur in public settings. We can’t solve our issues or deal with the feelings that divide us by ourselves brooding alone or ranting about injustice. This is conversation time that has to be thoughtful and compassionate. Daniel makes everyone go back to court and Jesus takes his time writing in the sand. Both then ask questions of the accusers that reveal the hidden truth, the hidden agenda in each situation.
I think a similar setting is required to get out from under our own fears and uncertainties. Can we ask for help? Can we face the challenge of revealing the feelings that need to be out in the open? I think it’s the only way to eventually accept ourselves as we are, just as God already does. Guilty or innocent isn’t the issue. Love and acceptance are.