If You Knew, You Wouldn’t ( by Carley Evans )

Simon, who is a Pharisee, invites Jesus to dinner;  yes — Jesus accepts the invitation. “A woman in the town who is a sinner finds out that Jesus is reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brings an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and stands behind Him at His feet, weeping, and begins to wash His feet with her tears. She wipes His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.” (Luke 7:37-38, HCSB)

Needless to say, the Pharisee is appalled. He thinks if Jesus is truly a prophet, He’d know who and what this woman “is who is touching Him — she’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39)

Jesus knows Simon’s thinking. As a matter of fact, Jesus knows the thinking of any one who is appalled by acceptance, tolerance, understanding, compassion. We say, “Oh, it’s not the sinner I hate; it’s the sin!” I’m certain Simon feels the same way here. After all, this woman is touching Jesus! Her filth is infectious! We must fight the sin!

But Jesus does not see as we do. Jesus sees that her debt — in its greatness and its immense weight — has given her a greater capacity for love. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins are forgiven; that’s why she loves much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

The more we are aware of our own sin, the less we see the sins of others. The more we are forgiven, the more gratitude we carry in our heart. Let us be compassionate above all, for love covers the multitude of sin. Amen.

Back in Place (by Carley Evans)

Took some time off here at the end of the month to spend with my daughter before she moves. Instead of a short vacation, I got sick. Nothing serious, just a bad upper respiratory infection. Still, after 6 days of sneezing, coughing, nose blowing and super headaches, I forgot what working feels like.

It’s odd when this happens — a subtle loss of a part of self.

You become a sick person, almost purposeless except for needing to get up, go to the bathroom, shower, eat, sleep, watch vapid movies or news of a hurricane, read, write notes, and somehow get to the grocery store or pharmacy for essentials. But, working a 10 hr. day disappears — albeit briefly. That role is subjugated to the role of the temporary invalid.

Going back is like waking up to sunshine after a stent of cloudy days. What a joy to be in the company of fellow workers! What a relief to be back in place!

Father God, thanks for my health. Thanks for my career! Your blessings are many, and are always the best. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Ten Lepers, One Leaper

Jesus goes into a village, and is met by ten lepers. They are thoughtful, standing at some distance from the Lord. They recognize Him as ‘Master’ and ask Him for mercy. Jesus calmly tells them to show themselves to the priests. They obey Him, going to the priests where they discover — quite suddenly — they are each healed. Think of the surprise, the joy!

Only one of them, however, returns to Jesus to express his gratitude and “praise God with a loud voice.” (Luke 17:15) This ‘foreigner’ as Jesus calls him is the only one of the ten to “fall on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks.” (Luke 17:16)

When Jesus first sees the ten lepers, I believe He knows that only one of them — and the Samaritan no less — will be grateful enough to return to praise God. Nevertheless, Jesus heals all ten. It is not the behavior of the lepers that determines God’s goodness or willingness to heal; it is rather God’s very nature. God is good; He is all powerful; He is looking to heal.

Jesus asks, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17) It’s not as if Jesus doesn’t know where the other nine have gone. He does. He now marvels at the foreigner, the Samaritan, who chose to return to praise his Lord and Savior, Healer and Coming King. Jesus says, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)

Does this mean the other nine are suddenly un-healed, and made leperous again? Of course not; rather, they have not found Jesus. Only the Samaritan is made whole by his faith in God.

Father God, make us truly grateful for Your loving-kindnesses. In Jesus’ Name, amen.