Beautiful, Matchless, Grace

SAM_4210The poem below is the story from the perspective of the adulterous woman from John 8. I wanted to point out something from the perspective of the Pharisees (the religious leaders during Bible times). They wanted to accuse the adulterous woman. But in the presence of JESUS, their accusations meant nothing. In the presence of the Holy, righteous, perfect God, our goodness means nothing. We all need God’s grace, His beautiful, matchless, grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ JESUS for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Eph. 2:8-10.

~Beautiful, Matchless, Grace ~

By Sarah Anna McConnelee

Inspired by John 8:1-12

 

Broken, destitute, brazen, penniless

Shunned by all

No one wanted me

Because I was Battered Disgusting

The women saw me as dirty, garbage

Stained linen

Desperate I sold what was dearest to me

My body

My flesh

My soul

Most importantly

My dignity

I had to provide for my son though shame marked my actions.

One night a man enticed me

One with a ring on his finger

Nausea spread like the plague; I almost refused

I didn’t.

It became an overnight and when I woke up in his bed

I captured the scream in my throat before it tore the house to shreds

But he asked for one more time

Before the word No was off my lips

He promised me an extra-large sum of money

I thought of my darling son,

Would my son cringe if he knew what his mother was doing for a living?

To survive?

Was there any hope of life being beyond survival?

Any hope of an abundant life?

So out of extreme love for my son

So out of extreme fear

Extreme inadequacy

I complied with the man

Hoping to get it over with

As soon as possible.

I heard a knock on the door and began to pull away

The man I was with thought I was avoiding him and pulled me closer

The law givers, wearing white, hypocrisy, fake purity, waltzed in the bedchamber

What right had they to be here?

It was if they were bored and looking

Seeking someone

Anyone to accuse.

Quickly they yanked me away

Calling me all the blasphemous names I had heard a thousand times before

Their phylacteries righteously stood on their heads accusing me.

I cringed to think of where the law givers would take me

As they pulled my beaten, broken vessel along

I noticed they were taking me to the open square in the temple

No, not the temple,

Embarrassment overwhelmed me

I was a sunken ship

Waiting to crash upon the shore

But I knew I deserved it

The lawgivers didn’t seem to care about the man I was with, even though he was married

No, as the woman I was the one who was the criminal.

They brought me to the stone plateau outside the temple doors

I closed my eyes

Trying to block out what I knew was happening

I was going to die

To be stoned

Standing in the temple court yard was a man

He didn’t dress like the pious law givers

There was something gentle, understanding about him

I thought I had seen him around town before

He stood in such a way that held power

His posture demanded attention

The law givers pushed me into the stone court yard

I sat crumpled as a heap

As a shattered oil lamp

Broken glass, Injured, Completely vulnerable

Did the men about to stone me, personally know of heartache

Did these men know of separation?

Of despair

Or were they only hiding who they really were behind their “whiteness”?

Listening I heard the lawgivers tell the man I’d saw that they had caught me in the act of adultery

I should’ve been used to being called a prostitute but crimson stained my cheeks

Scarlet flooded my heart

I hated the life I was living

I realized that the man the lawgivers were talking to was the new radical in town,

Oh no, know the law givers were discussing how I should be stoned

The man seemed to ignore the law givers ramblings

He bent over and began writing with his finger on the stone ground

I was surprised to see a man of dignity willing to humble himself and stoop so low

Something about this man was real, the humbleness of stooping down was so deep

He spoke not a word, but the law givers faces almost looked guilty

As if perhaps they too had committed something treacherous

Then the man said “he who is without sin let him throw the first stone.”

I buried my head deeper into the folds of my dress awaiting the first boulder to fall upon my chest

I preferred to die quickly.

Waiting

Silence

Nothing happened.

Peeking my head up from my knees I saw the man writing with his finger on the stone again

My heart almost stopped as each law giver dropped their rock on the ground and left.

Their faces bent in

Was it shame I saw disguised in their perfect figures?

Had they too done wrong?

Did the kind man know their sins?

Then the man stood up from his writing

I marveled that someone could simply write on stone with his finger

Was he writing down the name of all my accusers or all the men had known in such false intimacy?

Perhaps it was the same finger that created the rock itself

Holding the earth in balance but the breath of His mouth.

Tears crept into my face

I knew I was finished

If anyone could accuse me, then this man could

“Where are those that were going to stone you”?

Why was the powerful man speaking to an outcast?

A woman?

I barely squeaked out the necessary words

“They left”

Five seconds passed

The sun swept over the man’s face

Revealing

There was something in his eyes

Something deeper

Something all knowing

Something different

He knew all about my horrid life style

Knew about where I slept each night

Knew what I did to survive

Surely this man would stone me

It almost seemed as though it would be right if He did

“I’m not going to stone you either, go and forsake your life of sin and follow me”

That was the most anyone had spoken to me since I had become a prostitute

I couldn’t speak

Tears erupted through the dams of eyes and flowed onto my cheeks

This man knew about my past

Knew about my lifestyle

And yet he choose to set me free?

Overwhelmed by my gratitude and still in my heaped position

I leaned over and kissed his feet out of reverence

Waterfalls of thankfulness and hope continually gushed forth in endless tears

He lifted my weary arms

With the palm of his thumb he wiped away my tears

Looked me in the eye

No one ever looked a prostitute in the eye

But He looked me in the eye

I looked into His eyes and saw the universe displayed

I saw freedom

I saw a new life

I saw hope

I saw love

I saw all my past erased in the sea of His forever eyes that saw all of my heart and still loved me.

Most importantly I saw grace

Beautiful, matchless grace.

 

 

 

 

 

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