LOVING IMPROPRIETY

Thursday, August 27, 2015


“…and a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner…” (Lk 7:37-39)

 

Two people, and two different approaches to Christ in this passage: Simon the Pharisee, the religious authority of his time, very properly hosting the meal to which he’s invited our Lord. And a nameless woman, known to us only as “a sinner,” who makes quite a scene as described above. She wasn’t invited to the table, and has nothing to say for herself. Yet her actions, rather inappropriate, say everything.

The Lord famously praises this woman and admonishes Simon, saying to His host: “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair… Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then He says to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

It’s OK not to have anything to say for myself. And it’s even OK not to go through the appropriate motions, according to someone else’s ideas of propriety, when approaching God in our brokenness. He has little interest in external piety, when it “loves little.”

So let me not hesitate and approach Him today, however I can, with a loving and contrite heart. Because He remains true to His word: “A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit; a heart that is broken and humbled God will not despise.” (Ps 50/51: 17)

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