John 8

Face set like flint, unwilling to betray the trembling in her heart, she fixes her gaze. The hatred welling up on the inside steels her for the consequence she knows is hers. She cages her heart - impenetrable. The stones may crash hard against her flesh but the soul will stay in the cell of hatred - protected from the outside but dying within. The shame spins around her like a whirlwind, inside, outside. She knows her eyes are cast down and with an act of defiance she straightens her neck, holds her head high and walks boldly across the holy ground. Her thoughts become fragmented by the scene that beholds her. The temple, though magnificent, rises like a altar to the pride of man and it disgusts her, but the sky, it calls to her like a forgotten friend. Her hatred momentarily disappears as the beauty of the dawn light invades the dark dungeon on the inside. The hues cross the sky like paint. Red - the artist paints his passion for her. Yellow - healing. Blue - peace. It's like the artist is painting right across her heart. The window onto beauty is slammed shut as the accuser starts to speak, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" She drops her head, the defiance overtaken once again by shame. People are all around her, on one side the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, the respected and revered men. On the other side the Man they call "teacher" sits on the ground with a crowd around Him. She feels the eyes upon her and the judgement that has already been made against her. She is guilty and the weight of that guilt is bearing down on her frail bones even before the stones hit her. She wishes she were already dead so the torture of the shame couldn't afflict her soul. "Oh ground, swallow me up!" her mind cries. "Just lay the judgement on me and kill me so it could all be over." The pause is pregnant and she swallows hard, her mouth dry, her eyes flickering back and forth in panic. She sees the holy men towering over her with their law on their lips, but hearts far from the One who spoke the law of love into being. She sees the teacher. He is still sat on the ground and he is writing with His finger the words of God. No longer is everyone looking at her, they are looking at the teacher, then at the unease of the Pharisees. Suddenly the words seem to resound from the sky even though they are spoken quietly, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The cloak of shame falls from her shoulders and, in disbelief, she watches the accusers leave, one at a time, until its just her and Him. She knows she was guilty. Why has he done this? She can barely move as he straightens up and smiles at her. Fear seems to dissipate and true sorrow enters her heart as kindness unlocks the prison door. She feels more exposed and naked than she has ever felt in her life but there is no shame, just a longing to be clean and whole. "Woman," He says, using the name that defines her as most beautiful among creation. For the first time she feels the honor of womanhood, no longer the one crushed by chauvinism, by overbearing and cruel masculinity, her body used for their pleasure with no regard for her heart. He restores her by naming her. She is woman. She is glorious. She is beautiful. "Where are they?" He continues, "Has no one condemned you?"
"No one sir," she replies.
"Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."
Mercy covers over her and she knows it. She knows the law, the requirements of the law, and this beautiful Man just handed her a garment of grace and he holds her sin over his own shoulders. How did that great exchange just happen? It's not just. It isn't fair. This is not easy to receive. She finds the unlocked heart flailing around inside of her trying to find new parameters to understand this kind of acceptance. She knows the cost to him - He is drinking the cup of wrath for her sin. Why? No one has ever told her she is worth suffering for and she doesn't believe it for herself. This Man is ascribing indescribable worth to her and she is stained by sin. The sorrow on the inside rises up again, the sorrow of not living according to her worth, sorrow for the hurt she has cast onto others because the pain in her heart didn't allow her to love, instead living heart-bound, sorrow for causing this Man to have to suffer for her. When he calls her to leave her life of sin it sounds like an invitation from his smiling lips. She looks with no shame into His eyes and sees His heart fully exposed. No self protection, no defenses. His heart is pulsating with love and bleeding with desire for her, his beautiful one. She sees herself as one worth dying for and it breaks the callouses off her soul and her heart beats wildly with life. "He is mine and I am His" she thinks. "He drinks of the cup of wrath so that I can drink of the cup of the marriage wine, the cup of life, the blood of the covenant." She is humbled, full of joy, wildly living and longing for the day when He will split the sky in two and come back for His Bride.

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