This week’s gosepl speaks to us about sin, specifically the adultery committed by a woman (John 8) – and it speaks of two ways how this sin is regarded and dealt with by Jesus Christ. While the Scribes and Pharisees, who have brought the woman before Jesus, want to stone her, Jesus sends them away: “Whoever among you is free of sin, let him throw the first stone.” And he does not condemn the woman either: “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”
When we do something wrong, it is in our power as humans to make up for what we have done. If this is not possible in the moment or in the immediate future, the opportunity is given to us through karma. We can work on our mistakes and learn not to do them again. We can change. We can go and sin no more.
All things have – at least – two sides. There is never just one way to look at something. And while, on the one side, we see Christ’s acceptance and non-judgement in the face of our sins – his encouragement to us – on the other side we see him write in the earth, as the gospel tells us, twice. What does he write? What is being inscribed in the earth?
There are indeed two sides to our sins. There is the personal, subjective one that is within our power to handle, to deal with and to make up for. And there is the other side that makes us face that whatever we have done is an objective fact in the history of the world. A fact that cannot be undone – a deed that, once committed, cannot be made to be ‘un-happened’.
Every deed that we do, every fact we put out there into the world is like a seed. There are seeds of light and there are seeds of darkness. Every sin we commit plants a seed of darkness deep in the earth where it cannot be touched by human powers.
This is where we have to admit that sometimes our merely human powers are not enough. That there are things that we cannot fix, circumstances where we remain helpless and where the help of a higher power is necessary and crucial.
What human power cannot touch Christ can.
He can take our seeds of darkness and infuse them with cosmic forgiveness. He, who has the power to overcome death can turn darkness into life and light. And if we ask ourselves how we deserve this help and forgiveness we have to answer that we do not. It is a gift of love from the cosmos to us. We may ask – and how do we give thanks for a gift like that?
The words of the Act of Consecration give us the answer: “…in reverence of Christ, in mindfulness of Christ’s deed.”
This contemplation by Rev. Contreras was inspired by John 8.