Pentecost 4c – Sunday 16th June 2013
Luke 7: 36-50
“Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
One of the most horrific events of recent times happened on Wednesday 22nd May at approximately 2.20pm when Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was attacked by two men as he walked back to his barracks in Woolwich, South London. He was hit by a car before being attacked by knives, and dragged into the road where he died of his extensive injuries.
Amongst all the sorrow of the day, one of the most iconic images that will remain with me is that of the three women who confronted the two men who attacked Drummer Rigby. They went to his aid, they went to be with him. Perhaps it would have been dangerous for any men to have attempted this. But the compassion and courage shown by those three women is beyond description.
So many in this world walk by on the other side. With shame and regret I admit that there are many times when I do so. I look on with envy as there are many who display selfless acts of faith and generosity whilst I wallow in my own self-pity and self-imposed busyness. It’s raining tears. It certainly rained tears the day Drummer Rigby died.
I think this is a fantastic story from Luke’s gospel. And yet I find it so hard to read because I know it is so challenging, so convicting, so courageous. One thing I’m certain of, faith grows. It develops. It flourishes. It dies back. It revives. It changes. It goes in new directions. Mine is still only a short way into the journey. That’s why I’m so glad that faith and grace walk hand in hand. Women. So often they lead the way!
There’s very few words I can add to this story. Just the hope that we all find the confidence and courage to live out this gospel message.