I have a fascinating memory; the majority of the time, my mind filters my life and throws away memories, knowledge, and ideas that do not seem useful. However, when I think back throughout all the memories I do have, there are a few that are still there and I’m not quite sure why my mind kept them. One of these memories can be found in the “Early Years” file. I was 2 or 3 and the church that my family attended was putting together a “Life of Christ” play. My dad was placed in the leading role as Jesus. Because my mom also had a couple of important roles, I was there, every practice, sitting in the back of the church with my grandma. They even tried to give me a part. However, being on stage, in front of a lot of people did not exactly appeal to me. I’m not completely sure what I did to pass the time while waiting for each practice to end; since I remember the play vividly, I can imagine that I sat transfixed on the group at the front, as they ran through each scene. I remember seeing my mom stand on the balcony above the stage, in all white, with gorgeous wings. She was surrounded by smaller angels (children) clothed in the same garb. The children sang, as she, the head angel, told the shepherds where to find the new born King. I remember watching my dad, in that white dress (they called it a robe, it looked like a boxy dress), standing tall, playing the important part as the grown-up Jesus. I sat, fascinated at how my dad looked like someone from a story book. I knew it was all part of the play, but when dad would grab the hand of the sick or touch the eyes of the blind, they were healed. There was my dad, being all hero and awesome. Then I heard it, that piercing sound of my mother’s cry. Two men were dragging her down the “road” into the midst of the group my dad, Jesus, had been teaching. The two men mercilessly threw my mom on the ground. By the time they had walked from the back of the church, down the road, to where the group was sitting and listening, I was furious. I couldn’t care any less that it was a play; those two men had no right to drag my mom across the ground and then throw her. Being well-taught in things of the Bible, I knew it was a demonstration of a story about Jesus. Yet, then and there, that made no difference to my young self. After the practice was over, I let these two older men have a piece of my thoughts. One of the men was my dad’s best friend, the other was the father of my dad’s best friend. They kindly took my harsh words with a smile and nodding of the head. I’m sure they thought it funny that this toddler had something to say about their acting skills. Of course, at the time, their acting skills were the least of my worries. They hurt my mom, and no matter who they were, they deserved a good chewing out.
This morning, my devotions brought me to John 6. Because I prefer to do my devotions while eating breakfast, I tend to let my Bible app read the designated chapter to me while I prepare yummy food. This gives me time to roll the ideas of the chapter over in my mind before I sit down to eat. Then, while I am eating, I can study it out in depth, and then write down my thoughts. This morning I let my Bible app continue reading because I was taking longer with the preparation of breakfast. The slightly monotone voice came over my phone’s speaker, reading John 8: “… all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.”
Today, the first eleven scriptures of chapter eight, struck a chord in my heart. I usually picture that scene from the play; my mom screaming, trying to free herself of those two mean men, being thrown at the feet of my dad. This morning was different. I saw myself. My sin-covered self, being dragged down a filthy dirt road, rocks scraping my knees as I trip over the random potholes. As I see that dirty me, crying, screaming at the hopelessness all around, I look up to see who dare hold my arms with grips that leave bruised scars. My mind was sent in a shocked swirl of thoughts as I recognized the faces of the two dragging me. It was me. Yes, I was dragging myself. You could not tell by the grips around my arms but I hated to even touch my dirty self. Every dark corner in my heart was being placed in the open for all to see. My worst failures, the moments in my life where I had messed everything up, my everyday thoughts and actions that fail to measure up to my potential, all of these things I dragged to the feet of the Christ, Jesus. I throw myself at His feet and often scoff at the thought that He can do anything for me. I had been caught in the act. I knew better. The law says to stone one such as me. I humiliate myself in front of the crowd, I know I’m not worthy. I have done so much, too much for even One such as Him to fix. Surely He is good, too good, to come down to my level and pick me up. Then to my surprise, He looked in my eyes. It felt as though the world came to a standstill when He stooped down and touch the dirt in front of me. Tears flooded in my eyes as I realized what He was doing. I could not read what He wrote, for the tears had blurred my vision. What He wrote though, did not matter. He had stooped down, He had come down to my level, and He had touched the filthy dirt. He had touched the lies and hatred, He touched the dark corners of my heart that I couldn’t stomach. Slowly, He wrote in the dirt and the filth, He wrote in the rubbish the lay around me. He knew my blinded eyes could not read His writing, and He told me the words He wrote upon my heart. He said: “I wrote My Name on your heart, when people see you, they shall no longer see just the filth, they will see you as Mine, you are my daughter, you are loved, and through your brokenness, people will be able to see Me.” As He helped me get back to my feet, I saw Him, crying in pain, as He bore my sin. As He hung on that cross He bore an eternity of sin, the pain of which, I should have felt. Yet because of His mercy, I am free in Him.