March 18, 2013

Lenten Journey: Who Are You?

For Reflection...

She will make a perfect test-case.  There's no grey here; she was caught in the act.  Choose.  They will make him choose.  It's either honor the law or violate the law.  They will finally know where he stands.

But he will confound their expectations.  They see her as an adulterer.  She is nameless, faceless, a case-in-point.  Instead of joining in their argument, he circumvents it.  He does not answer the question about stoning an adulterer.  It's the wrong question, he seems to say.

He points them to a different question.  Who are you?  Can you identify your own humanity?  You are not Pharisee or scribe or accuser any more than she is adulterer.  Who are you?  Who do you want to be?

He doesn't dissuade them.  He gives them permission.  Stone her if you will, but first, look inside to see who is doing the stoning.

What do they see?  The elders see it first and slip away, and then all the others.  Whatever drove them there, whatever their motives, something else has replaced those things.  Their attention has been diverted.  Something has superseded their desire to prove a point.

They came with an argument, an abstraction.  They leave looking into their own souls and leave him to look to her, Woman, not example.

For Entering In...

- As you become aware of being in the presence of God, notice -- does God feel close or far?  Do you feel connected or disconnected to God?  To your own heart?

Reflect on these questions:
  • When we get caught up in our own beliefs or judgments, we can fail to see people as people.  They become objects:  The poor.  The wealthy.  Conservatives.  Liberals.  Christians.  Atheists.  What groups of people do you tend to objectify?
  • By objectifying someone else, I stand apart.  He is other than I; I am other than she.  Reflect on a person or group you think of as "other."  What labels do you apply to them?
  • When I see myself in relation to others , we become objects to ourselves:  If they are conservatives, I'm a liberal; if they are poor, I'm rich.  Make a list of the labels you apply to yourself.  How does your personhood, your being, transcend those labels?
  • When we see an other as a person not an object, we can experience compassion.  What is the risk for you if you feel compassion toward the "other"?  What is the potential reward?
  • In the same way, when we see ourselves as more than a set of labels, we can hold our own souls with compassion.  Can you show yourself the same compassion that you might show someone else?  What is one way that you can treat yourself with compassion today?
Spend several minutes allowing your body and mind to be at rest.  If thoughts come, let them go by.  What if the only thing that mattered was your being, not your thinking or feeling or doing?

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