OCTOBER 30, 2017 Luke 7:36-50
ALABASTER AND ANOINTING
MEDITATION: I was living away from home, no longer under my parent’s roof, but still aware that I wanted their approval. As a child, I was accustomed to their generous love and as a young adult I hoped very much that my accomplishments would be worthy of their parental pride in me. I was on a good trajectory. Until I wasn’t. And then, abject failure. I nursed my wounds and resolved to get back on track with my life, but I was devastated by the thought of letting my parents down. A couple of months into the ordeal they came to visit. I hugged them both and immediately the tears gushed out. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I did not want to disappoint you.” My Dad untangled himself from my embrace. He gently held my face between his two strong hands and with great conviction said, “you’ve never been a disappointment to us a day in your life.” When I picture the scene of the woman anointing Jesus’ feet, first with her tears and then with alabaster, I know exactly what was in her heart. As I listen in on Jesus' conversation with Simon, I know with every fiber of my being what Jesus means by loving much in response to being forgiven much. I know, too, that God’s forgiveness is greater than anything we can expect from each other, but sometimes human love is what helps convince us of the unfathomable wideness of God’s goodness and mercy. That was certainly the case for me when my Dad assured me of his love at a very low point in my life. I’m aware that not everyone is so blessed. There are times when we must rest on God’s grace alone because a friend or family member is unwilling to grant the forgiveness we are hungry to receive. Simon represents the hardness of one who has little tolerance for the missteps of others. Perhaps “faith” is about learning to love as God loves. Loving too little will shrink our faith, but a generous love grows a generous faith.
FOR DISCUSSION: When it comes to receiving forgiveness are you more like Simon or the woman in this story? Which is more difficult for you: giving an apology to someone you've hurt or accepting the apology of someone who hurt you? What connections do you experience between love and forgiveness?
LINKS/OTHER RESOURCES: Listen to Sarah Groves, "You Cannot Lose My Love," from her album All Right Here. Search for it on YouTube, there is a Sarah Groves channel.
- (Sample verse) You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,
But you cannot lose my love.
- Find the lyrics, here. . .