I wrote recently about being reminded of the parable Jesus told of the adulterous woman and all of those who held stones. I was a bit put off that it was being preached in a Christmas service but I am here to say that I was wrong. As we approach the new year, a new political world, an opportunity to throw many stones awaits. Our nation is more divisive, hurt and angry voices are louder. Will we throw our stones and increase sin, ramp up the anger, or will we drop them and walk away to reflect on ourselves?
The Bible has much to say about renewal, a simple Google search brings up hundreds of verses. Must be an important concept, the chance to start over and leave our sins behind. Of course the catch is that we must turn to God, we must repent, atone, ask to be forgiven and then practice that very forgiveness with the same determination we chased our sin. Not easy, room for stumbles, yet that glorious feeling of shedding the past with all of its shame, becoming free without the weight of carrying yesterday and the day before into today, amazing. A curious thing happens though when you accept that new day, when you really believe you get to start over, that the stones will never reach you, you find it so incredibly uncomfortable to pick up even a little rock yourself. Maybe you want to keep them for a collection, like my Plum, but they no longer look like weapons. Instead, you want everyone to dance with you, that complete unselfconscious flailing of limbs that results in knowing you are new. You are a child of God first, regardless of who your mother or father were, regardless of the stupid things you did in your 20’s or yesterday, you belong to Him who doesn’t punish with endless time-outs but rather huge hugs and forever time-ins. When you truly believe that, you want to invite everyone to the dance. You want them to admire your rocks on the shelf and know they have nothing to fear from you. You become a place of time-in and huge hugs as well.
New Year’s Eve snuck up on me, so caught up in new little sweetness and many days with Plum. I didn’t realize it was time for the calendar swap, for a whole new season of worries with a new leader to begin. Maybe that is just how it should be, maybe that is naive. Still, I know I will have many opportunities to throw rocks at this new leader, at those who supported him. My fear may take hold, my day may begin with judgements rather than the urge to swirl and twirl. Always a choice, to accept that I have a new day, to realize that gift is one to offer to others as well. I pray that in these challenging days ahead, I can remember that the grace that has washed me is not a tiny cup of water, mine for hoarding, holding, setting on a shelf, allowing to evaporate. Grace is a waterfall, flowing from above with room for us all. Who sees the splashing rushing water and doesn’t strive to share that beauty? Who keeps their camera tucked away, avoiding the chance to capture the majesty? Who looks upon that glory, who hears the crashing of water over the rocks and doesn’t see God is offering to wash us all, God is smoothing the rocks?
May we begin a new year secure in the knowledge that old things are gone, He is still in control, we are forgiven. May we all offer up our rocks this year, allow grace to flow from us like the waters from heaven, may we splash on all those we encounter. May we twirl and swirl in our pajamas each morning, knowing we are new and free in the love of the One who made us. 2017, would you like to dance?