At the Feet of Jesus

This was my sermon for this morning at church.  I used an earlier blog, My Anguish with Luke 7:36-50 and Psalm 46:10-11and created this message.  I hope it inspires you and you enjoy it.

When I first started attending this church I was searching.  I came and I sat on this side, over here.  It was a good seat.  I can remember watching the children’s moment and I would begin to pray to God that I would have children, lots of them.  There were days I ached to be a mother.  I wasn’t more than 20, and I really didn’t know what being a mother meant.  I would soon find out.  See, I was dating a really great guy.  I knew him from junior high school.  We were good friends.  Between high school and me going to college, he had married, went into the Army, had two great kids and came back home divorced.   We started dating.

Do you remember the story read from scripture?  This woman was in Simon’s house.  She was not a reputable woman.  She was a sinner!!  Not just any sinner either.  She was a woman about town.  And here she was in Simon’s house.  Scripture says she was standing at Jesus’ feet behind Him.  Have you ever wondered how that could be?  I was watching a video from Adam Hamilton and he explained it/showed it.  So I want to show you.  See, they were sitting on the floor in a lounging position with their feet to one side and one arm holding the upper body.  Jesus was sitting in such a position that she could be standing behind Him and at His feet.

Jesus' Welcome

At the feet of Jesus from spindleworks.com

I want you to envision this.  She was kissing His feet.  They didn’t have socks and shoes.  People were either barefoot or wore sandels.  Can you imagine what shame, what guilt this woman must have felt in order to enter the presence of these men, of Jesus, and cry over His feet.  In order for her hair to brush His feet, she had to be low to the ground.  Yet there she was.

It was customary for a host to provide water for a guest to wash their feet.  Simon had not provided that water.  This woman did, her tears.  The towel she provided was her hair.

Here was this woman coming into Simon’s house, crying over Jesus, washing His feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair.  She anoints His feet with oil.  Throughout this she is kissing His feet.  She doesn’t say a word.  she comes into this room full of men and says nothing.  She cries at His feet, kissing them and pouring oil on them.  Whatever burden she was carrying, whether it was guilt, depression, loss, whatever it was put her on her knees.  She had to be desperate because at any time she could be kicked out.  She said nothing because what she was carrying inside her was so heavy.

But what is even more profound, is Jesus did not speak to her.  He did not acknowledge her.  He knew where she was but, He knew her pain to be so great, her feelings of shame and guilt to be so great that she could not speak.

Have you ever been so ashamed, in so much pain, so filled with guilt that you wanted to be alone and be comforted at the same time?  Has life bent you down low?  That’s how life is sometimes.  Sometimes all we want to do is hide ourselves and cry at the feet of Jesus kissing His feet because it’s our last stop our last hope.

I have.  I have been this woman.

I stood there in the dark silence of the chapel with the stain glass face of Christ looking in at the pews.  His hole pierced hands showing an anguish I felt.  No one was here, not in this space or time, yet sounds of a movie floated above me from the back wall.  I did not approach God straight on, I walked down the side aisle, as far away from His face, my head down with my hair falling around my face – hiding my shame.

“Why?  Why me God?  What did I do that is so different then everyone else?  What did I do that was so wrong?”  It was not a whisper but a cry that came welling up from my soul.  “How can you do this to me?  This is not supposed to happen to me!  I am a good girl.  I do not want this baby.  I cannot be pregnant.  Why me?  I didn’t do anything different than anyone else.  Take this cup from me!”

There was no answer.  The stillness crept into my porous soul, which I was trying to cement shut.  I raged at God.  I shook my fist into the air, crying out to the God who would not speak.  The stained glass Jesus said nothing, but His hole pierced hands spoke to my anguish.  The only sounds were those of my soul feeling betrayed.  My shame oozed into the very recesses of my heart and the guilt overcame me.  I found myself prostrate in front of the alter with stain glass Jesus standing over me.  His expression never changed.  His anguish bleed into my mind, reminding me of His humanness.

“Pass this cup from me Lord, if it is Your will.  I cannot do this alone.  I am so sorry for my sin,”  rippled repeatedly off of my tongue.  Time was warped.  I was there for minutes, hours, a life time.  I pulled myself off the rough carpeted floor.  I was wishing, hoping, someone would walk in and offer that act of humanness that God could not give.  No one came.

Slowly as I stood there, I felt I was not alone.  I turned around and looked into the darkness carefully, yet I couldn’t find anyone.  The very air changed.  A calmness washed over me.  I was surrounded by angels.  I could not see them but the sense of them was so palpable I could breathe it into my soul.  “Hush.  Shhh daughter.  Be still and know God is here.”

I could not hear Christ because I could not release my guilt, but I could feel His messengers.  I was single and pregnant and in college.  I felt alone because I was afraid that my parents would stop loving me.  I was afraid they would disown me.  If my parents didn’t want me, how could God want me? I was unworthy of His love.  God’s angels placed me in the protective sphere of His guardians.  I was not alone.  He had not abandoned me.  I became still.  God was there even though I didn’t feel Him.

I want to stop here and pause and go back to scripture.  During the whole conversation Jesus has with Simon, the woman is weeping, anointing Christ’s feet and kissing them.  And Christ does not say anything to her, does not acknowledge her presence.  Yet He is there.  But this is not the only time Christ was in the company of an ill-reputed woman and did not say anything to her directly.

In John 8:2-12, a woman is brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees, caught in the act adultery.  They are ready to stone her.  For Adultry.  He writes in the sand and says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  He bent down again and wrote in the sand.  The men left.  And it was just Christ and this sinful person.

See, I am these women.  I find myself in their stories.  I am the woman in deep shame and guilt, crying at the feet of Jesus.  I am the woman waiting to be stoned for my sin.

Yet what is Christ’s words to these women.  Go in peace, sin no more.  Your faith has saved you.

In that darkened chapel that night, I knew Christ was present.  He calmed my spirit.  While we don’t know the rest of the story for these women in the Bible, we know where I am.  I am right here in this place and time.

God has given me peace.  It is the same peace He offers you.  What I learned in that darkened chapel that night is that Jesus is with me.  Some believe He died on the cross in place of us, or to carry our sins away.  But I believe it is more than this.  In that darkened chapel I learned that Jesus was with me.  He died so he could be with us.  He is with us when we are committing our sins.  He is with us when shame and guilt consume us.  He is with us when we confess and seed repentance.  He is with us when we celebrate our arrival out of darkness.  He is with us when we are singing and dancing and praising His name.  He is with us in our joy.

Right now the Holy Spirit may be calling to you to committ your life to Him, or maybe you’re being called to renew your committment.  For some of you, this is a time to be with Jesus, and for others this is a time to dance and celebrate.  Regardless of where you are in your walk, Be still and know God is with you.

Amen.

 

Centered

I wait
Centered in the cacophonous rush   
Listening intently
For quiet sounds to emerge
Rising above to ensnare me
Releasing me into multicolored prisms


Joy intertwines itself with life
I swirl in multidimensional shafts of light
Delivering me from the inharmonies of life
Here I want to reside

Worldy stings pull at me
Bringing me back to earth

I am left between the joy of living and the overwhelming tsunamis of life

But I am not alone.

Never have been.

Never will be.

Inside the Black Box

A giant wave / Credits: Shutterstock

Life coming at me.

Overwhelming life hitting me like a tsunami wave.

cacophonous words trip upon each other in my mind.  I am lost in my own body

So I slide into this dark box of mine, hidden deep inside.

Just to rest.  Just for a quiet moment of silence.

                                                     
It’s quiet in here.  Deep down in the dark.  It’s not so bad.  I can release myself to this quiet and be still.  Nothing enters or leaves.  It’s been a long time since I entered this place.  This deep, dark, quiet place.

But it is never truly quiet.  My thoughts, like dust floating in sun beams, drift down making light, fluffy, muffled, jangling noises.  And the ruminations settle around me.

These musings of mine ease their way next to me.  Some of these thoughts want to pull me into a darker place.  A place where leaving the box becomes difficult.  A place where I bury me beyond existence.

 I push the clamour aside and wait for the other reflections to settle on top of the debris.  And they shift to the top.  Reminding me that staying in the box is not as safe as facing the crashing tsunami waves of my life.

My box shimmers and white light drifts all around me like falling snow.  Each light flake touches my skin, bringing delight.  Memories of joy in existing pull me up to the top.

I decide it is time to leave my quiet dark box.  As I come forward, the waves of life crash down upon me, and I am driven down.

But I am not alone.

I never was.

God’s Blessings

God is so good.  I went and worked out this morning and came back to weigh in on my scale, and it was down.  It his me like a ton of bricks; I am being faithful to God and He is blessing me.  No, it’s not just about the weight.  Before the new year came, I had time to really talk with God.  He made it clear that changes were going to happen in my life this year.  Change is coming, be faithful.

This does not mean I sit back and do nothing and wait.  No, this means I have to follow God’s plan for me.  Funny thing is, it’s not always my plan.  Here is what I know God wants me to do:  Pray fervently, lose weight – hand over the eating to HIM, write abundantly.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a praying girl, but He’s asking me for more of the quiet, meditative prayer rather than the rush requesting prayers.  I exercise, but I have rebelled when it comes to food.  I allowed food to rule over me and I was losing the battle.  And of course I write, but this is writing beyond me.  This is writing to share.

God is good.  He wants to bless us, if we let Him.  I am ready to let Him bless me even more.  How about you?  Will you join me at His banquet table.

My Beloved Daughter

I quiet myself and come into the presence of the Lord.  I feel His smile reach me.  It is so warm and loving.  I look into Christ’s face and ask Him, “What do you want me to do?”

Be still my child, my beloved daughter.  Be still and bask in my embrace.  I know all you are going through.  You are my beloved daughter, and you are precious to me.  I want you to know I love you no matter what.  Whether you listen to me, walk away, deny me.  There is nothing you could ever do that would stop me from loving you. 

These are the kinds of conversations I have with God.  This one is about me, and I am willing to share it.  Lately, when I come to Him, I ask Him what He wants me to do.  Sometimes the question is different, but this is the one that has been popping up more frequently.  And usually I ask Him what He wants me to write.  Today has been no different.  So someone out there needs to here this message.  Take the time to stop and not just come at God with requests, but stop and bask in His presence.   Isn’t that what we want with our own children, spouses, partners, loved ones?  Don’t we just want them to bask in the love we have for them?  That’s what God wants for you today.  He is calling you, beloved child.

Quieting Myself

In the noise, in the middle of the caucophnous words floating from the mixing and mingeling of people are moments, ever so minisucule moment of quiet.  It is in those small spaces of time I place myself.  And the quiet spaces expands and the noise rolls over me as though there is a focefield that surrounds me.  And I find myself in the middle of a dead zone of space, time and quiet.

I wait longer and know You are with me, whispering to me to be still, to let go.  If I relax my way into Your presence, You are right there.  I can see You, in all Your glory and You smile at me.  And it is in this moment I know You will speak to me.

I look at You and I tell You, “You are my God, my Creater, the Lover I have always sought.  You complete me and fill the empty spaces of my soul.  My search for something more is complete because You are right here, in front of me.  And before I can even speak the question I have, You answer me.

Stop watching t.v. and playing card games on your computer – Write.  I have words for you to share.  Write, or you will find other areas of your life falling apart – because you are avoiding what I want you to do.  When you are disobedient in one area of your life, you become disobidient in other areas of your life.  Write.

I know this is God.  So I write.  I turn off the tv, I move away from all of the distracting computer games.  I write.  And He is right.  If I am disobidient to Him in this, I will not be obedient in other areas.  I will not be able to partake in the banquet feast He has prepared me.