stink

4 09 2011

A woman arrived at the party.  This was a fragrant gathering, there were fresh-cut flowers, a novelty in such a desert place. Fragrant because the people there were important, and wanted to leave the dirt and grime and smells of the outside world behind them. Feet washed, hands scrubbed. Separation complete. All was good.

Except the woman was not invited. Neither was she welcome. An imposter, bringing with her the stink of dirty sex into a gathering of the righteous. Anyone who recognised her would not acknowledge her. Certainly not here. But they knew her. They knew what she stood for. She stank, in every possible way. She contaminated their world in the way she contaminated their dinner party. She had to go.

But she is not done yet. From her dirty bag she took the most unlikely of gifts. Perfume. She washed the feet of the man she had come to see. She didn’t have a lot, but what she has she risked for Jesus’ stinky feet. Feet the host should already have washed. But he had not. 

This woman knew what she was. Jesus knew what she was. But more than that he knew who she was. A woman worthy of dignity and respect. A woman loved and not a woman to be scorned. Unlike everyone else at Simon the Pharisee’s house, she had no position of power or respect to protect, she had no reason to seek Jesus out except to show love. Maybe a desperate love, but love nonetheless.

Jesus honoured that. He honoured that because when they left the party, they smelled the same. Jesus – rabbi, incarnate Son of God, Lord and King – and a dirty, stinky prostitute. Now, they smelled the same. The stink of dirty sex to the fragrance of forgiveness.

That feels like a challenge. To respectability, to formulas of salvation, to the efforts we go to to protect ourselves from the stink of everyone else. That feels like a challenge to me who stinks a challenge to approach God and allow him to pronounce me clean, and for him to walk proudly with me. Smelling the same. The same? THE SAME?

Surely such a God would be insane. It certainly stinks of something.

copyright for this artwork is unavailable.

Read the full story from Luke 7.36-50.

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One response

5 09 2011
c2drl

Yes the whole of God’s creation is illogical by today’s Enlightened standards. It works on love not profit, it works on extravagant beauty not accounting and it favours the poor and downtrodden not the wealthy and successful.

That’s why we can’t understand it when we bring our rational modern minds to it but we can when we bathe in Gods love.

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