Throwing Rocks

Thinking of the well known Bible chronicle of the woman caught in adultery, I’m reminded of her accuser’s ‘rocks’. (John 8:1-11 NIV) The big shots brought the woman to the forefront and pointed out her sin, rocks ready to throw. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, he called out the rock-holders.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

I love the word picture painted here! Jesus wrote in the sand first. His words aren’t recorded or revealed. But, I’d like to believe he wrote the words, forgiven, beloved, favored, cherished. Then he asked the rock-wielding meanies to examine their own hearts and drop their rocks.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

So the older dudes were the first to go. Does older equal wiser? Or is it more years of sin? Had they known her in “that” way? Only heaven knows. But what is known, is that there was NO ONE left to throw rocks, even though the law-of-the-land demanded it.

The image painted for me is that of Jesus, with his arm around the shoulders of the trembling woman. Surrounded by a circle of rocks on the ground. The accusers with the rocks have gone, just their rocks remain. In my painting, within this circle of rocks, Jesus’ words written in the sand remain… forgiven, beloved, favored, cherished. Jesus wrote the words before challenging the accusers. In my eyes, He meant the words for them as well.

 

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Blurry Vision

I’ve been home from a mission trip to Peru for about 30+ hours. Re-entry is usually one of the most difficult elements for me. Returning to a ‘normal life’ after the experiences of a foreign life is hard, sometimes to the point of being painful.

Our flight(s) from Chicago lands in Lima. But that’s only part of the journey! We board a bus for 8 hours of winding, twisting, ups and downs thru the Andes to deliver us in Huancayo. This is a difficult bus ride even from the comfy seats of our section. I know myself well enough to know that I will need something stronger than Dramamine for this ride. I acquire the prescription patch for motion sickness and it has served me well! Not to the point of being able to eat anything during the bus ride, but I’m at least not doing the opposite! (sorry for the visual)

One of the side effects listed is ‘blurry vision’. I didn’t really notice it at first, but when I tried to read something after our arrival it was very blurry. For those of you that wear glasses, especially bi-focals will understand. I could not move that piece of paper into a happy place of clear vision. Extend my arm, nope…up close, nope. I could make out the letters enough to guesstimate what I was reading.

I removed the patch upon arrival in Huancayo, but for days my vision didn’t clear. Frustrating is an understatement! Talking with several of my team mates, I found that many of them were having trouble with blurry vision as well. But no one else had worn the ‘patch’.

Naturally, what goes up must come down. Our return trip to Lima was by bus, which means another patch. I kept the patch on for the 2 flights from Lima to Chicago. (For the obvious reasons) But even today, 30+ hours later, my vision is still blurry. I will share more about our day-to-day activities in another post, but this singular malady has stuck with me the entire journey and home again.

It struck me this morning, while my vision may be blurry, my sight has become crystal clear. No event that I had seen over the course of my days in Peru can be unseen.

  • To see a street child, dirty – nose running- and unattended, with nothing of a worldly possession other than the coloring page they just finished at your little table – singing praises to God….your sight becomes very clear about our selfish ways.
  • To know that the cookies and juice box we gave them, may be the only thing they ate that day.
  • To have nearly 100 kiddos line up to hug you and kiss you with no motives or other expectations other than the fact that you came (back) to see them.

Clear, so very clear. Re-entry is hard. Coming back to a life when my ‘normal’ would be to complain about a broken washing machine, or my pool is green. Even as I bring in my suitcase from the garage, and start to sort the filthy clothes of Peru, I can’t help but be sad to wash away the dust of the brickyard that permeated every pore and space of our being and belongings. To wash away the places where the little grubby hands wrapped around us and hugged so close.

Yes, my vision is still blurry this morning. Possibly the remnants of the side effects of my medicine patch, more than likely its from the tears that still fall. But I know,  my sight is clear.

The sound of the kiddos, praising God, still lingers in my ears. “Abre mis ojos oh cristo!” {Open the eyes of my heart Lord} The trouble with asking God to open your eyes of your heart….is that He will do it and it will change you for ever and always.