God Here Among Us
Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ … Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’… When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you.
With one simple statement, "let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone," Jesus lays low the arrogance and hatred of the crowd. He lifts up a lowly woman out of her imposed shame and restores her with his forgiveness and love. And it does not end there.
Jesus looked up and asked her "has no one condemned you?" When she replies,”no one," Jesus says," neither do I condemn you."
I wonder if at this moment Jesus is moved by the same introspection that calmed the crowd? Could it be that God is reflecting on God's own past and God's relationship to humanity? Perhaps it's the memory of having destroyed Sodom and Gomorra that pulls at God's conscience. Maybe the horror of the all consuming flood comes rushing back to God's mind. Maybe in this moment, God recognizes that even God is not qualified to cast a stone.
Some may say that this idea diminishes God, and they may be right. But when I imagine God in this scene sharing humanity's shame, I feel closer to life. When I imagine Jesus as "God here among us," experiencing all that life brings, and God learning from these experiences just as we do, God seems less far away. In fact, to me, this God here, right next to me in this life, seems real.
Dear God – Thank you for your courageous act of love in humbling yourself to experience life here with us.