For Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Luke 7:36-8:3
Immediate compassionate response trumps premeditated politeness. The host was thoughtful, no doubt, well-meaning and polite, curious about Jesus, but from a bit of a distance. The ‘sinning city woman’ knew nothing of distance. She was all-out passion. If the host was a small breeze, she was a blast of wind, a tangle of tears and kisses and hair. Intimate. You might say, inappropriate.
The host saw the unfolding action as opportunity to judge; Jesus simply received. Self-love deep enough, secure enough, makes other-love possible. The host had not enough inner resources for such loving attention as this. The dried up heart confuses rules and regulations for real caring, judgment for love. Even the ultimate words of love–”you are forgiven”–are misconstrued. “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” the guests ask among themselves. Why would they not ask, “Who is this, who loves so fully?”
To love well is not to follow a set of rules for loving well. To love well is to follow the tug of a thread that draws us toward this one who loves. The thread takes us where he is, this one who captures our heart. The woman bringing all she had did not premeditate how she could make a scene and disrupt Simon’s dinner party. She herself surely did not yet know how disruptive real love can be. She simply followed the thread.
Love beckoned. What could she do but respond?