Scripture: John 8:2-11
Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’
Gracious and loving God, You love us no matter what we do or do not do. Your forgiveness envelops all our sins. Transform our hearts, minds, and hands to make decisions, take actions, and speak words that you would think, do, and say. Guide us and inspire us with your unconditional love. Amen.
Ways to Reflect:
Jesus is not interested in keeping score, not with the woman or the men who are getting ready to stone her. Jesus is interested in the actions the woman takes after this moment. He says, “Go on your way and do not sin again.” Jesus gives each one of us forgiveness, but it doesn’t stop there. We must repent, or turn away, from our sinful actions, thoughts and words and do differently. Reflect on a thought, action, or something you said that was not helpful or holy. Know that you are forgiven. Instead of focusing on the situation, reflect on how you have changed or acted differently because of that moment. Reflect on what is continuing to happen now. What needs to be done or how might you choose differently in a similar circumstance?
Listen to or sing “Nothing to Fear” by The Porters Gate featuring Audrey Assad
As you listen to this song, imagine the words are spoken to you by God.
Jesus writes something on the ground and those gathered walk away one by one. We are going to play a fun game where we write words and draw pictures. You need at least 4 people to play. Each person starts with a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Choose a word or phrase from John 8:2-11 and write it on the top of the page. Pass your paper to the person to your right. Draw an image that illustrates the word or phrase. Fold the paper back so that you can only see the image. Pass the folded paper to your right. Write a word or phrase that you think reflects the image on the page. Fold the paper so that the only thing showing is the word or phrase you just wrote. Pass it to the next person and continue until each person has written words or drawn an image. When finished each person unfolds their paper and shares the words and images on their paper.
Taste: Stone Soup
Make Stone Soup within your home and invite your neighbors
Go outside and find a small stone from your yard. Bring it inside and wash it off. Tell your neighbor about your plan to make stone soup and see if they have an ingredient they would like to contribute. Take a pot from your kitchen, fill it with water and add the stone from your yard. Discover whatever meat or vegetables are in your fridge. Choose pasta and grains from your cabinet. Decide what spices you would like to add. Add them to the soup. As you add different ingredients and spices taste how the soup changes.
Watch: An animated version of Stone Soup
One of my favorite stories is the story of stone soup where the community comes together to share their gifts. If you are not familiar with this story, you can watch an animated version of this story adapted by Heather Forest and illustrated by Susan Gaber.
Smell: Spices from the soup
Before you put the spices into the soup, taste and smell each one. When you breathe in their scent, what does the smell invoke for you? Do you associate a feeling or an experience with the spice?