No Escape

Reflections on Faith, God & Isolation

A Lockdown Devotional for the start of a New Year:

Friday 15th January 2021: #15 The Woman caught in adultery

Click here for link to the video

Rembrandt’s Woman caught in adultery

They wanted justice: cold justice,
but they would have needed to catch her in the act;
behaved like perverted peepers
and, of course, there would have been two.
Somehow, the man escaped.

They wanted justice: cold justice,
but they were meant to issue a warning first, show some mercy,
but, judging by her nakedness and her toussled hair,
there was no time for that.
Why bother with such technicalities
when purity is at stake.
They forgot.
Somehow, it escaped them.

They wanted justice, cold justice,
“Stone her”, they said.
Even though the law said plural not singular;
even though they were now under Roman jurisdiction;
even though there was no court fit to judge;
it would have to be a lynching. Lawless.
That fact escaped them.

They wanted justice: cold justice,
But it was meant to be a private ruling,
in camera;
not a soft-porn film set for voyeurs;
with her exposed, under scrutiny, not from the law,
but from the ogling eyes
of a crowd so obsessed with purity.
The irony escaped them.

Then to realise
it wasn’t about justice,
it wasn’t about purity,
it wasn’t about morality.
Then to realise,
it wasn’t even about her.
All this shame and it wasn’t even about her.
She was being used. Doubly.
A honey trap;
not for the libido-driven, opportunistic lover,
But for HIM.
Collateral damage in their religious war
Against HIM.
Caught in the moral crossfire
from which she could not escape.

Stripped of her clothes,
of her dignity and of all mercy;
abandoned by her man,
by her people,
even by her accusers
Then abandoned to him,
to his judgement,
to his mercy.

Glorious mercy!
“Neither do I condemn you.”
Alone, abandoned to grace.
Then “Go and sin no more” –
a small price to pay.

To trade the merciless demands of the Law
for his priceless offer of Grace;
or swap the whispered lies of coupling lust
for his clear verdict of single-minded love;
Exchange the dirty looks of the shameless accusers
for his shame-defying cleansing embrace.
In fact, no price at all.

For that price would be paid. Later.
When, stripped and accused,
ridiculed and abused,
he would stand alone and take their lies,
their taunts, their jeers, their ‘Crucify’.
Again, in face of accusation
with neither hate nor condemnation,
he’d look with love, and pray ‘Forgive’,
Not try to take the road of escape.

Why would she not want this new life,
this new law,
this new voice,
these new arms, from which
she would never escape?

©David Montgomery
Easter 2020

Lord Jesus, Thank you that in the final week of your life you confronted everything that would cause me guilt and shame, all my brokenness, all my wilful and secret sins, everything that separated me from you; and you took them on your shoulders that I might know the glorious truth that there is now no condemnation for those who are yours.  Thank you for the freedom this brings,  Help us not to condemn ourselves where you do not condemn; help us not to remember the sins which you have already forgotten, or to dig up past hurts, when you have buried them. Thank you for paying the price.  Amen

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