Thursday, October 9, 2008
"I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. The one who has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47
Early last evening we heard a mewing in one of our bushes. It was loud and insistent and when I peered in to the bush in semi-darkness, I saw two little frightened eyes looking back. We tried to reach in and extract the small kitten but she seemed stuck. After a few minutes struggle she exploded from the bush into the street, away from us whom she perceived to be predators. She ran onto the grounds of St. Thomas' Church. All through the evening she persisted in crying, loudly and regularly. Before bed, I went out to try to gather her up, but she ran again, and so I just left some food, in case there was none available. I woke several times during the night, the piecing screams of a small infant cat breaking through my sleep. This morning I went to look for the cat but she was gone. Another neighbor told me to forget it, no one would come get her anyway, she was a stray. I can't help myself. I want to go out and help the helpless, I cannot get away from their cries. Maybe, if I am to be the Rescue Bishop for those tossed aside, so be it.
How many times in our lives have we heard the words that turn us and others away - forget it, don't worry about them they're just a stray. They have to live on the streets so they must be shunned. Or, they're sick and needy so they must have been bad. Or, they are ignorant, don't know how to get by, so don't get too close. There but for the grace and abundance of God, go you and I. We could be in the same shoes as the woman who anointed Jesus, or the stray cat who someone tossed onto the street. Into the world's rejection and harshness comes Jesus, overflowing with compassion. Her love comes from being loved and knowing that she was forgiven, released from her shame about the things she had to do to survive.
It is easy for us, to overlook our own broken selves and our neediness when we see others in greater need. For some, we are moved to compassion but to others we turn a blind eye. Today, I want to live as the woman lived - loving much. I want to remember how much I have been forgiven, and how much God loves me and continues to forgive me. And I want to be able to have the strength today to love much. I want to love much so that others might receive in their brokenness, in their sorrow. May we live today confident in the knowledge that God loves us so much, and that we have been forgiven all the shameful things we have done. And may we remember that others are desperate to be released, forgiven. May we be agents of God's undying love.