And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Luke 7:37-38
Have you felt such desire to be near Jesus? Do you desire this nearness when you are ashamed of your sins, or when you feel isolation and loneliness? How about when you feel angry at someone, or you feel hurt or betrayed? What would it take for us to fall at the feet of Jesus?
For liturgically minded Christians, the season of Lent brings with it opportunity for such reflection. As we consider Christ’s journey to the cross, we also consider why the cross was necessary. It is because of human disobedience to God that Jesus gave his life as the atoning sacrifice for sin. This is no secret to faithful Christians; it doesn’t come to us as a surprise. Our need for God’s grace grows each and every day.
No matter how broken, no matter how shameful, there is nothing that the love of God in Christ Jesus cannot forgive. The great difficulty with forgiveness lies with the sinner who can’t find their way to Christ. The proud Pharisee in the text above thought more of his status than that of the woman who bore her sins to Christ and sought God’s grace.
Today, too many “churchgoers” are quick to point out the sins of the many yet fail to see the seriousness of their own disobedience. The truth is, we all depend on God’s mercy, and we all are in need of His grace. Our sin is no less shameful than that of another. We are so quick to decry the behavior of others, perhaps doing so relieves us from the burden of admitting our own fault. Still, the fact remains that we need Christ as much as the woman who cried at Jesus’ feet.
Understanding the example of such a woman, can we imagine what it would take for us to fall at the feet of our Lord? Are we really that much more faithful than her? Are we really so much better? She showed much love for Jesus and Jesus forgave her much. Where are we in this story? What is our place at the table? What does it take for us to fall at Jesus’ feet?