near the feet: a poem for survivors

all alone

ever

among us

uninvited

and

ignored full of

shame deflecting

pity

a harlot by

choice a harlot

by force a harlot

just the same

her story

no one wants

to hear too much

for them

to handle

but

everyone wants

to whisper

clicking

tongues think

they know her

struggle

her fear

don’t look

back forget

the past move

on

give up

get over

go away

still she stays

she stays to heal

she stays to hear

she stays to remember

the grace

the touch

the taste

the forgiveness

she stays

to find

her

way

near the only feet

that

saved

her

Jesus

***************

“One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”

Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Oh? Tell me.”

“Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”

Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”

“That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”

Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.”

That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!”

He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50,The Message (MSG)

Reconciling raisin cakes

 “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
~Dr. Kathleen Young 

***************

More than anything else, perhaps, someone in pain thirsts for peace.

More than anything else, perhaps, pain results from oppression.

Oppression from injustice.

Oppression from illness.

Oppression from tragedy, grief or loss.

Sometimes the word “reconciliation” makes me feel oppressed, choked by thoughts of forced, literal embraces with people who hurt and tear and steal.

But reconciliation is much more than that. Much bigger than an abuser. More powerful than any hold grief or loss has upon us.

In fact, I don’t believe reconciliation takes the form of human-to-human-embrace at all.

Reconciliation is about the way God loves us. The way God loves you. The way God loves me.

It’s about trusting God works out earthly things which the utter brokenness and depravity of human nature cannot restore this side of Heaven.

In the Bible, Hosea hears God tell him, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1)

Sometimes, we’re so elbow-deep in raisin cakes we can’t fathom the satiating love of our Father.

Sometimes, we need to toss aside our umbrellas of despair and dance in the rain of grace and mercy.

Kick off our galoshes and splash in rivers of reconciliation. 

Spin beneath the thundering sky of freedom.

Tiptoe into the ballet of a life being restored.

***************

“Each of us lives in the midst of particular sins and specific instances of brokenness. And each of us must choose how we will respond. Living a life of holiness and learning the ways of God sometimes mean letting go of our need for justice and instead embracing a world that groans in anticipation of the day when it, and we, will be redeemed. . . It means accepting with humility that God alone is good.”  
How Far Should Forgiveness Go? by Christine A Scheller 


*This post is written with gratitude for the One Word at a Time blog carnival on reconciliation this week.