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Mercy for the Condemned: In the Night My Hope Lives On (#3, 2016-0417)

. 2 min read
(Note: Video did not work that Sunday.)
Call to Worship, Psalm 32
Children, Luke
15.1-7
Message, John 8.2-11
Song, “In the Night”, vv 5-6, 7-8
Song: In the Night (Andrew
Peterson), including lyrics below
Like the son who thought he’d
gone beyond forgiveness,
Too ashamed to lift his head–but
if he could lift his head
He would see his father running
from a distance
In the night my hope lives on
And I can see the crowd of men
retreating
As he stands between the woman
and their stones
And if mercy in his holy heart is
beating
Then in the night my hope lives
on
Well, I remember how they scorned
the son of Mary
He was gentle as a lamb, gentle
as a lamb
He was beaten, he was crucified,
and buried
And in the night, my hope was
gone
But the rulers of this earth
could not control Him
No they did not take his life–he
laid it down
And all the chains of death could
never hope to hold him
So in the night my hope lives on
We could talk about
·       How hypocritical and judgmental
religious people can be
·       The hatred and mistreatment of
women, particularly in view of the fact that the law of Moses said that not
only should you kill a woman caught in adultery – but the man as well
·       The unique way that Jesus cared
for both the accused woman –and her accusers. He didn’t stare them down, he
just bent over and kept doodling in the dirt.
·       Specific qualifications often
attached to this story, that Jesus is neither abolishing capital punishment in
general nor softening prohibitions against marital infidelity
·       The interesting textual history
of this particular “floating” story that also appears in some ancient copies of
Luke’s gospel and is missing in the earliest copies of John’s
·       The many theories about what
Jesus was writing, including a fun one by Frederick Bruner (Gospel of John,
505-6): He was buying time as he
formulated his response. Yesterday, at opening day, girls drawing and writing
in the dugout dirt …
But no. Today, I want to talk about
one particular feature of condemnation in the experience of the condemned –
Shame.

The tornado gag and responses to
condemnation
      Guilt
      Anger
      Denial
      …
Shame
Genesis 3.10
      I
was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
“Such women”
      “Making
her stand before all of them”
      “Caught
in the very act”
            Covered
in any way? other than shame
      A
level of exposure that is not only unkind but abusive
The unintended consequence:
misery brought before Mercy
      (comment
by Augustine, Bruner 504)
My God, my God, why hast thou accepted me?
      “Mystery
of Mercy”, Andrew Peterson

Again Jesus spoke to them,
saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in
darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8.12)