Very much a risk - I'm offering this as a guided meditation for both 8.00 and 10.00. Hard to imagine more differing congregations but....
This morning we're going to tell the gospel story together...
I don't mean by this that we're going to join in with the words in the same way that we do on Palm Sunday....but we are going to work at making it OUR story.....at bringing the events of the past into our present.
So come with me to Jerusalem...to the house of Simon the Pharisee.
It's quite a grand place – and today it is full of important people.
Look around you
How do you feel about being there?
Are you comfortable and at home – or do you feel a bit of an outsider?
You are there because it's a special occasion.
Jesus, the wandering teacher and prophet, has been invited for a meal.
Simon is anxious to see for himself just how dangerous the man may be
Perhaps you share his suspicions.
Perhaps you are waiting to see him for yourself before drawing any conclusions.
He's here – taking his place at the table.
You join those who crowd around him – for you want to hear what he has to say.
But then – there's a commotion – his words drowned out by another voice entirely.
Someone is pushing through the crowd – hair loose – dishevelled – weeping - wailing
What an embarrassment!
Nobody wants that sort of scene at a dinner party
Is she drunk?
She's certainly wildly emotional – bending over Jesus, kissing his feet, swamping them with her tears – and now she's using that free-flowing hair like a towel.
And what's that smell?
Perfume....not cheap by the smell of it.......but very pervasive
You can't get away from it.
Listen – Jesus is speaking to Simon.
Strain your ears to hear him.
“Do you see this woman?”
We've all seen her right enough...couldn't miss her if we tried.
But it doesn't seem that Jesus is irritated by her
His voice is full of love as he speaks of the woman.
Listen to his words as he rebukes Simon for his failures of hospitality but commends the woman, in all her messy abandon, for showing great love.
How do you feel now?
Are you irritated that her bad behaviour is being rewarded, indignant that Simon, who has done his best in inviting Jesus to visit, should be publicly humiliated by his guest.
Or is there something here that gives you hope?
“Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven...hence she has shown great love”
Think of those things for which you need forgiveness.
What precious gift would you now bring to Him in gratitude?
Take it and place it in his hands.
It is accepted.
YOU are accepted.
Hear Jesus speak those words for you.
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”