Faith Daily | 22 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Five
We thank you heavenly Father,
that you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
we pray that
as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us
to joys eternal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives ad reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen APBA p490
GOSPEL for the Day: John 8: 41-11
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Hilary Bell
Sin, condemnation, punishment. Written laws.
Compassion, mercy and potential to change. Laws written on hearts.
For me, these are at the heart of this passage.
Jesus came to the temple to teach people. From other passages which inform us of his teaching I surmise that he is telling people about a God who is faithful, merciful and loving, a God to whom complete love and reverence are due.
The scribes and Pharisees came, not to listen and to learn, but with a different motive: to set a trap for Jesus. They know the Law, as written. They know the punishment for adultery. In a sense, they have already “condemned” the woman and publicly shamed her (though not her partner in adultery).
Before we sit in judgement on the scribes and Pharisees let us pause for self-examination. When have we invoked laws and moral codes? Have we exhibited elements of self-righteousness? When have we been quick to condemn the actions of others but not at our own lack of compassion, not taking time to understand the position of another? When have we failed to show mercy and forgiveness while praying that God’s mercy will apply to us when we truly acknowledge our sinfulness?
It is in honestly searching our own hearts, minds and actions that we confess our sins, of commission and omission. In shame, we come before God. Jesus did not condemn the woman, nor does he condemn us but he asks us to repent, to turn away from sin.
In the words of our baptismal promises: To turn to Christ. To repent of my sins. To reject selfish living and all that is false and unjust.
FINAL PRAYER: (From APBA Baptism service)
“Lord God, you created this world, and made us in your own image.
Forgive us when we turn away from you.
Lord God, through your Son you overcame evil and death.
Rescue us from slavery to sin.
Lord, by your Spirit, you restore us to fellowship with you and with one another.
Breathe your love and freedom into our lives”