The Fifth Sunday of Lent, "C" Cycle:
Meditations and Prayers for the Fifth Week of Lent by Victor Hoagland,
Walk Freely in Light
Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3,8-14; John 8:1-11
The story of the woman brought to Jesus charged with adultery begins a chapter of John’s gospel in which Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me, will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Like a trapped animal, the woman before Jesus certainly knows darkness. The powerful leaders of her people publicly condemn her. A host of eyes are on her; gossips will soon spread her name and her story everywhere. No matter where she goes, she thinks, the memory of this day condemns her.
Jesus changed that. “I do not condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
He recognizes her sin, yet does not condemn her to a failed life. No, she is not a failure. She can walk freely in light.
“Remember not the things of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!” (Isaiah 43:18)
Illustration: from painting by Lucas Cranach, d. 1553
often enough, we’re burdened by our past,
by what we have done or failed to do.
We condemn and we judge,
losing hope in others as well as in ourselves.
We walk in the dark.
Speak to us as you spoke
to the woman long ago.
“Go, and sin no more.”
Inspire us, like your Apostle Paul,
to forget what lies behind
and press on to what lies ahead,
to pursue the goal, the glorious prize,
which, by your grace, you help us gain.
Light of the world,
be our light.