"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" John 8:10
I took a short trip with my oldest daughter last evening to return my mother to her home after a Christmas visit with us. She lives in a very small ocean side town at the very end of New Jersey. It is about a three hour drive, so we stayed the night and returned today. We wanted to be well rested for the trip home and were both some what reluctant to leave the one place we truly love, the one place that is truly home. We lingered this morning with my mother and then stopped at a few local shops which are run by family friends. We overheard a woman in front of us complain that she had recently bought a house in Cape May but had no idea how isolated it was during the winter. "There are no restaurants open" she complained. And her partner replied, "no, it sure isn't Camden County!" People are always quick to judge a person or a place by what they see on the outside, or what they know in high season, but they rarely take the time to know and love a place or a person for what or whom they truly are. The glorious beaches of summer are challenging, stormy oceans of winter and both are ravishingly beautiful. Most of the people I know who are ravishingly beautiful, show little of that on the outside.
Jesus meets a group of people in the temple who are passing judgment on a woman. They have not taken time to know her, nor have they taken time to examine themselves. They compare her virtue to theirs - the outside, visitors virtues. Hers are more hidden then their, although their are made of paste. We all could be judged and come up short. But for those who take the time to love and forgive us, we are many ravishingly beautiful people, made in the image of God, and fiercely loved by our Creator.
Although this day is nearing an end, I want to remember that I need not judge another for they are loved by God and somehow beautiful, even if my eyesight and sensitivity fail. I want to live acknowledging the beloved hidden places and people in my life, who are ravishingly beautiful, out of season, away from the hubbub, and who have been love for me in my darkest hours. May we all remember those people today and give thanks for the shy and homely, the sinners and the overlooked locals who have made a place for us when no one else will. It is in them that we have truly known Jesus. May we be instruments of Jesus' love this day.