Hi, PDX and the world!
Movies always get it wrong. Mel Gibson got ultra-graphic with the torture and execution of Jesus. I doubt that any film maker will top Gibson's effort. No problem so far. But there was that scene earlier in the film that fell into the same trap that snares most makers of biblical films. For Gibson it was the woman about to be stoned after being caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)
She was too pretty. Clothes were clean, face washed. Straight teeth, smooth skin. Groveling in the dirt she still looked like a million denarii. How about Mary Magdalene, a person people hissed at, didn't speak to, never made eye contact with? What do you suppose the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) looked like, coming at midday to avoid the townsfolk? Or the Canaanite woman (Matt. 15) begging for the life of her daughter? The poor soul with endometriosis (Mark 5) who had to sneak up behind Jesus, her last hope in life? How did Mary Magdalene look after Good Friday and the most miserable Sabbath of her life, bawling her eyes out in the graveyard at the empty tomb because now even the body was gone?
I doubt any of these women had just had their hair done or were L'Oreal models. Yet their brokenness and Jesus' response to it have become some of the most compelling testimony in history.
She was there at worship again on Sunday night, looking incredibly pale and tired. Hollow eyes. She'd come in with a terrible cough the week before. It's getting cold these nights. Often she closes her eyes during the psalm and the sermon. It may be the first rest in a warm place that she's had all day. That's fine. She always comes up for communion. And she'd asked for prayer for that cough. How'd you like to have a sore throat, fever, stuffy sinuses, aching muscles and be on the street? All night. What do you think it's like being a young woman out there, a person nobody makes eye contact with but who often hears hisses and obscenities? How thick would your armor have to be to survive that day after day?
She was there. Three times while eating she set down her food and just hugged and thanked my wife Jean who hadn't done anything out of the ordinary. Said she'd been a little depressed... Understatement of the decade. Within whatever wounded and tired flesh this woman lives today, there is still a bit of a girl who just needs to be hugged by her Mom. And almost any tender-hearted mama-type will do. Don't need to be clean and coiffed to need that. Don't need to be Superwoman to do that. Just need to be real. Just need to be there.
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto my sisters and brothers whom the world chooses not to see, ye have done it unto me (my paraphrase)," Jesus said.
Jesus stood there needing a hug. Jesus (aka my wife Jean) also stood there hugging back. Another Jesus sighting. 2 of 'em, actually.
God, it's special when Jesus shows up at worship! Amen.