One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. (Luke 7:36-38 The Message)
There are so many gospel stories where I would love to have been a fly on the wall. This is definitely one of them. I would love to have seen this extravagant outpouring of love...weeping and kissing and anointing...in person. I would love to have seen her face, so I could know what kind of tears these really were. Were they tears of regret, remorse, and shame? Were they tears of relief, release, and renewal? Were they tears of recognition, affection, and gratitude? Somehow if I could see her face I think I would know the answer. And maybe the word weep itself is a hint as to the true answer. And also the fact that the word weep is coupled with the word kiss (an odd pairing to say the least); that should be a hint as well.
Richard Rohr says that weeping is a deeply spiritual practice; one that we have overlooked, and ignored the value of, for quite some time. He says: "Weeping is different from beating up on ourselves. Weeping is a gentle release of water that washes, baptizes, and renews. Weeping leads to owning our complicity in the problem. Weeping is the opposite of blaming and also the opposite of denying. It leads to deep healing when inspired by the Spirit."
That would explain why the weeping in this passage is accompanied by an abundance of kisses, which are lavished on the feet of Jesus just like the perfume. Only if there was some sense of deep healing going on in the heart of this woman, would the weeping be the type that would also evoke an abundance of kisses. So there is no doubt, the weeping consists of realizing the incredible depth of her sinfulness, but also, coupled with the kisses, recognizes the deep affection of the Savior--which completely captures her heart with love for Him in return. It should be no less for me. Somehow I long to capture the Spirit of the weeping and the kissing, so that I will know the depth of my sin in a way that captures my heart and my life with the affection of, and for, my Savior.
For in this life of faith weeping and kissing are inseparable because...whoever has been forgiven much loves much.
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