New Beginnings

In John 8, we find the story of the women caught in the act of adultery.  She was brought out in plain sight of everyone, to be punished for her supposedly unforgivable sin.
Many in the crowd had stones in their hands, anxious to hurl them at the woman.

How many times have we had stones in our hands?
Stones of unforgiveness, bitterness, judgment, criticism,
rejection hurled hard, penetrated deep on the soul of another?

Oh how those stones hurt and bruise and wound!

What stones have been hurled at you?

“Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt.”
He wrote a different kind of rule to live by –
“the sinless one among you, go first: throw the stone”.

Can you hear the stones dropping dead in their tracks in the dirt?

And then there is silence.
A holy silence.
The woman is left all alone with Jesus.

He stood up and spoke to her, a personal encounter.
“Woman, where are they?  Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master,” she replies.
“Neither do I,” said Jesus.  “Go on your way.  From now on, don’t sin.”

She’s forgiven, set free.
Jesus gave her a new beginning.

There is always time,
always space,
always grace
for a new beginning.

Lord, help us believe in new beginnings.
———————————————————————————————————
Help Me to Believe in Beginnings | Ted Loder

God of history and of my heart,
so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;
I’ve been brave and scared;
I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;
I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;
I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;
I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;
I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;
I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;
I’ve laughed and I’ve cried.
You know my frail heart and my frayed history –
and now another day begins.

O God, help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I’ve failed before.

Help me to make beginnings:
to begin going out of my weary mind
into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks
in the land of now;
to begin forgiving
that I may experience mercy;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that I may know truth
to begin disciplining
that I may create beauty;
to begin sacrificing
that I may make peace;
to begin loving
that I may realize joy.

Help me to be a beginning to others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriender of the friendless;
to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.

Help me to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning,
to be a beginning,
so that I may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
you call me to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ.

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