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What is precious in your sight?

September 21, 2016

John 8:3-11
Here are two versions of the same sermon. Yes I know they both could say a lot more, however I think that sometimes we need to wrestle with ourselves with the blank spaces. 
What is precious in your sight?
 It seems lately that I have been taking so much time reflecting on what is vital to my life. Here in the Gospel according to John, makes me think about what is precious in our lives. The scene here is one of those moments where the author of this exchange shows that only Jesus sees how precious this woman truly is. The things we hold as precious we protect. We will keep the things we love away from harm. We would fight for the things we are passionate about with all our being. Wouldn’t we? One of things I hold precious is public school music. As many people who know me know that music one of the things God’s has gifted me.This passage has made me reflect on what I was able share with the students I have had. Sometimes it is extremely easy to associate with people who share the same passions we do. 
 However, we, as broken people, sometimes do not see the humanity of others. Sometimes we do not want to see the humanity of others because they are different than “us.” Why do we allow ourselves to do this? Different Hair color? Piercings? Tattoos?Different political views? Just because someone has a different “look” or has a different “way of doing things” about them, we make judgements about how wrong they are. Were is the Love of God through Christ Jesus in these actions? Simply put, it is not there. In the schools where I have taught, there have had different “clicks.” The “jocks,” the “academically gifted,” and the “band.” Yes, there were more as in any school, but these three seem to have the most tension between them.
 Each of these groups forgot something along the way. They forgot the passion they all shared. A passion to be the best at what they did. They also forgot that each of them shared a passion for their school. Do we really hold our families in this category as well? If the students are lead well they become a family. If we loose sight of our passions and the realization that we express our passion differently, we loose our humanity. We may have more than likely experienced it first hand or know people that do not hold the family as one of the things that are precious. 
 I have had principals like the Scribes and Pharisees who were more concerned with the law than with human life. They could not understand how my students could be so dedicated to the band. It looked like my students were moving around the field and making noise. They could not realize that my students were using this opportunity back to the greater community with the gifts they received from God. The principals like Scribes and Pharisees could not see the humanity in the band or the woman in the passage and lost their own humanity through the execution of the law. 
 Allow me the opportunity to ask a few more questions. Where was the person she was caught in adultery with? Why was he not brought forth as well to be stoned? In the first century world, women were counted as property. Has that really changed in our modern world? In some parts of the world it has not changed much.. We watch the news and social media and see how women are still being treated worse than property. Human trafficking.Sex trafficking. However, it is not only women, it is also children, the elderly and so many other people on the fringes of society. What are we, God’s people, followers of Jesus, going to do about it?
 How does this manifest itself in the day to day lives of those Christians? We have to receive the grace God offers to each of us. The grace that calls us into communion with God and with the rest of the created. Once we receive God’s grace, it will manifest itself in us and transform us into true disciples of Christ Jesus. If we do not receive God’s grace, we become like the people who lost their humanity because they accused the woman in today’s passage, because the only could see the law. The Law blinded them from the humanity that was looking them in the face. Once we receive God’s grace, that Grace drives us to be more and to do more for our loved one’s and the rest of God’s children.
 What can we do to change the world around us to be more and do more? We have to take an active role in changing the status quo. We have to be growing into the “call” God places on each of us that have received God’s grace and share it with everyone we meet. 
 Here at the end of our passage, Jesus reminds us to see the humanity in others. Jesus says to the woman, “Where are those that condemn you?” However the important thing is what Jesus says next… “I do not condemn you either. Go, from now on, sin no more.”
 I know I have fallen short in so many ways in sharing God’s grace; however, I have learned from those moments and long to serve God and God’s people, so that we can reach out to the hurting world and share the fact that we are all precious to God. The more we share God’s love that has been received by us, more people will see the changes in us and desire to receive God’s love themselves, so that the changes they long for will happen for them as well.

Jesus calls each and every one of us to sin no more, and we know we will, yet Jesus wants us to learn for our short- comings and not repeat them.
 When I taught school, I taught band we practiced and practiced. Correcting notes, rhythm patterns and their marching formations, over and over so that they perform to the best of their ability. Practice makes permanent. If we take to heart the example Christ Jesus provides for us, much like when I worked with my students, we learn and become better. If we are actively. “Being Disciples of Christ Jesus, we can grow more and more daily into who and whose we are. If we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them, we will make ourselves more like the image God has in mind for us.
 Let us pray.
 God of all grace and mercy, transform us into the people you call us to be. Melt our hearts that have become hardened. Open our eyes to the things we have become blind. Make us anew, so that your love can be received. We ask this in the name which is above every name, Jesus your Christ. Amen.

Take two

This lesson makes me think about what is precious in our lives. The scene here is one of those moments where the author of this exchange shows that only Jesus sees how precious this woman truly is. The things we hold as precious we protect. We will keep those we love away from harm. We would fight for them with all our being. Wouldn’t we? Why didn’t the husband? What caused the husband not to act on her behalf? What could have caused their relationship to be so extremely broken?
 We, as broken people, sometimes do not see the humanity of others. Sometimes we do not want to see the humanity of others because they are different than “us.” Why do we allow ourselves to do this? Different Hair color? Piercings? Tattoos?Different political views? Just because someone has a different “look” or has a different “way of doing things” about them, we make judgements about how wrong they are. Were is the Love of God through Christ Jesus in these actions? Simply put, it is not there.
 Here in our lesson, the “husband” was not there for his wife nor was he there to condemn her. We really do not know anything about this women’s husband. As I have already stated he was not present. We can assume that he had connections to the “powers that be” within the temple structure. We can also assume that he no longer wanted to be married to this woman. Which makes me wonder, why did he no longer want to be in this relationship? Why would he go to these extreme measures in humiliating his wife? Why he did not take the needed steps to protect his wife? His wife was no longer wanted, so she no longer had a place in his world. With our modern minds we more often think things are disposable, even people. Don’t we? Those of us that are in committed relationships in this modern age do what we can to make those in our life safe. We try extremely hard to strengthen our bonds to our partners and our friends and families. Instead of allowing them to be subject to humility and pain.
 So, what do we hold in our hearts to be precious? Who in our lives is so important that we would do anything to keep them safe? Do we really hold our families in this category? Or do we do what the husband does in this story? Which was nothing, except to set her up for humiliation. Apparently the husband in our story did not want his wife any longer. We have more than likely experienced it first hand or know people that do not hold the family as one of the things that are precious. These people are only concerned about themselves, and yet think they are Christians. The Scribes and Pharisees were more concerned with the law than with human life. They could not see the humanity in this woman and lost their own humanity through the execution of the law. 
 Allow me the opportunity to ask a few more questions. Where was the person she was caught in adultery with? Why was he not brought forth as well to be stoned? In the first century world, women were counted as property. Has that really changed in our modern world? Not so much. We watch the news and social media and see how women are still being treated worse than property. Human trafficking.Sex trafficking. However, it is not only women, it is also children, the elderly and so many other people On the fringes of society . What are we, God’s people, followers of Jesus, going to do about it?
 In today’s world, we give lip service to being followers and Disciples of Christ Jesus, but where do we show it in our lives? I show up at church, some may say. I tithe on a regular basis, other will say. But how does this manifest itself in the day to day lives of those Christians? We have to receive the grace God offers to each of us. The grace that calls us into communion with God and with the rest of the created. Once we receive God’s grace, it will manifest itself in us and transform us into true disciples of Christ Jesus. If we do not receive God’s grace, we become like the people who lost their humanity because they accused the woman in today’s passage. We become Christians in name only. Once we receive God’s grace, that Grace drives us to be more and to do more for our loved one’s and the rest of God’s children.
 What can we do to change the world around us to be more and do more? We have to take an active role in changing the status quo. We have to be growing into the “call” God places on each of us that have received God’s grace and share it with everyone we meet. 
 Here at the end of our passage, Jesus reminds us to see the humanity in others. Jesus says to the woman, “Where are those that condemn you?” However the important thing is what Jesus says next… “I do not condemn you either. Go, from now on, sin no more.”
 I know I have fallen short in so many ways in sharing God’s grace; however, I have learned from those moments and long to serve God and God’s people, so that we can reach out to the hurting world and share the fact that we are all precious to God. The more we share God’s love that has been received by us, more people will see the changes in us and desire to receive God’s love themselves, so that the changes they long for will happen for them as well.

Jesus calls each and every one of us to sin no more, and we know we will, yet Jesus wants us to learn for our short- comings and not repeat them.
 When I taught school band we practiced and practiced. Correcting notes and their marching formations, over and over so that they perform to the best of their ability. Practice makes permanent. If we take to heart the example Christ Jesus provides for us, much like when I worked with my students, we learn and become better. If we learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them, we will make ourselves more like the image God has in mind for us.

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