So I’m pausing to write this blog over a cup of earl grey tea, sitting cross-legged in the lounge of my friend’s hostel, and dwelling on what has been a perfectly wonderful Monday.
Great food and great people and a thankful heart are the things that make life so incredibly sweet.
And right now, I guess what I come back to, in this quiet place of thankfulness, is that I am so thankful to God that He has poured such wonderful simplicity into my overflowing heart.
Life is so incredibly sweet.
My weekend has been full of some of the most precious of times. A Friday night spent in worship with my church family, a Saturday evening melting marshmallows with my beautiful housemate, a Sunday of singing, and dancing and prayer meetings, and long-meandering, unhurried conversations, and a Monday of late breakfasts and thankful hearts.
People make life’s journey. They literally make it.
And over the last couple of weeks I’ve been really becoming more aware of the importance of people.
Because people are eternal.
They are the only eternal thing that God has given us on this earth.
My money and my possessions and all the ‘stuff’ that I spend so much time accumulating won’t carry on forever. It will wear out and grow old and break. My fashion sense will go fabulously out of fashion. My earthly beauty will age. These temporary distractions and temporary trappings that we work so hard to maintain and sustain.
We will live forever.
I believe that. My spirit was created to live with God for the rest of eternity.
The spirit of man was intended for the Spirit of the Uncreated One.
And in my thankful simplicity, I guess I come back to this.
I want to love people in the way that Jesus loved people.
Because He did everything to be close to us. He loves us out of our sinfulness and into His holiness.
He loves us into an eternity with Him.
And I want to pour my life out in a way that radiates that love.
My reflections take me back to the way that Jesus demonstrated this love, not just through his death, but in his life.
He treated people with such value.
Even the invaluable.
Even the unloved.
Even the unnoticed.
Especially the outcast.
His love restored everyone it touched.
And it still does.
I want to know the reality of this love in the depths of my own heart, so that from those depths I can truly love others in the way he calls.
With a love that restores the eternal in us.
In Luke 7, we are told this incredible story. It’s shocking really. Shocking to the core. It’s where Jesus is anointed by a sinful woman.
She is not a reputable character. She is the subject of town gossip, and household rumours and brazen-late-night-stories. Everyone knows her for all the wrong reasons. And the thing is, it’s all true. Every word.
And she comes to Jesus, who’s at the house of a nobleman in the town, and (who knows how she even got in through the door) she kneels down in front of a room full of people who thought she was so worthless, and, avoiding their gasps and critical gazes, she falls on her knees and she pours this perfume on the feet of Jesus. Perfume of such high worth that it would have probably cost her everything. Everything.
So she is crying, and weeping, and filling the house with the fragrance of this perfume and the sound of her tears… And Simon, who owns the house is outraged. He is sitting there watching this scene in such offence. Because he is a righteous man, and he has invited Jesus to his house, and surely if Jesus had any sense or prophetic insight, he would know that this women was a harlot, devoted to sin and destined for hell, and he can’t figure out why Jesus doesn’t just send her and her perfume back to the streets where they belong. Because why would God want someone like that? And if Jesus were really God, why would he even let this sinner touch him?
But Jesus, who as God, not only knew the depth of this woman’s sin, but the detail of Simon’s thoughts, speaks in her defence. ‘A certain lender of money had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. When they had no means of paying, he freely forgave them both. Now which will love him more?’ You can almost hear the silence that screams as time stands still, and the reality of what Jesus is saying sinks in.
All have a debt they cannot pay. All. But they who really see their need for forgiveness, who run to Jesus with the hole in their life and throw themselves at His feet, pouring out everything in complete abandon. They love much, because they are forgiven much.
I love much because I am forgiven much.
Oh Jesus, thank you for loving me, even in my mess.
And Jesus esteems this women. In the amplified version it puts His words like this, ‘Go (enter) into peace (in freedom from all the distresses experienced as the result of sin).’
That floors me.
In freedom from all the distresses experienced as a result of sin.
He doesn’t just forgive her sin. He redeems her future.
What kind of love is that? What kind of mercy? What kind of grace?
I love you guys.