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Changed by Love

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I looked into his eyes; his glorious, tortured eyes. Surveying the crowd before him, they held the same look they had for as long as I’d known this man. Blood poured from his nail pierced hands, the same gentle hands that had saved me from my own cursed fate. His bruised and battered feet pressed against the crudely crafted wood, clinging to the last moments of life. With every suffering breath he took, memories of his incredible love came rushing through my mind.
My name is Mary. Yes, you’ve most likely heard of me; everyone has. I wasn’t always like this, though. I was just an ordinary woman, not honorable, but ordinary. ‘Adultress’ is what they called me. That’s how they said it, like I was some kind of disease. They didn’t know. People couldn’t know what it was like. I had no money, no family, and only one choice. I would sell the only thing I owned or die destitute.
The day I fell in love was the day that I had been condemned to die. I had finally been caught. Running from the consequences of my profession for as long as I was allowed, I suppose there wasn’t any alternative. It was simple to see what that man, clamping his holier-than-thou hands on my wrists, really wanted. If those haughty Pharisees hadn’t been around, he and his buddies would have been my next customers. For a brief instant, I considered propositioning him. He was desperate enough from the look of his greedy eyes. Alas, the all so self-important Pharisees were in attendance at this fiasco with their decadently long robes and extravagant hate for me; for my kind. As they dragged me to the temple courts, I heard hushed whispers behind me.
“What will you ask him?”
“He must be silenced.”
“It is an ideal situation.” Blocking out horrifying images of my impending fate, I wondered whom they were speaking of so secretly that no one outside their circle would ever hear. However, at that moment, with my wrists held in a painful grip by the violent men on either side of me, I desperately wanted whomever these hypocritical Pharisees were threatened by to triumph over them.
The gates of the temple courts were appearing swiftly. My hate grew with every forced step, as did my fear. Even though I was not a person of virtue, immoral did not quite describe me. I remembered the lessons from my childhood, the terrible fate awaiting those who hadn’t faithfully served Adonai. A gnawing dread was forming, a black hole peeling and stripping all possible hope from me. Anxious, bitter tears fell as I fought my fate.
Raising my eyes, I saw him. He was staring right at me, as certain men always did, but the look in his eyes was not the same. There was something incredibly different about him. What did that matter to me? I was a condemned woman. As we came closer, I refused to look at him and diverted my eyes to the rocks. Unexpectedly, there was a shove from behind me. Suddenly I was on the ground, feeling every grain of sand and pebble. A strangled sob escaped my throat as the rocks were lifted from the ground all around me, rolled in my captors’ malicious, detestable hands, cradled and cared for to kill.
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” I heard the Pharisee’s voice filled with disgust, as if he were speaking of rotten meat.
“The law of Moses commands us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” The taunting in his voice was plain to all. I began to doubt whether this event was even about me. In the next seconds, silence prevailed. I heard a noise that took me back to childhood; drawing in the sand before the evening meal, making pictures, dreaming. Reality acted quickly, making me realize that right in front of tear-stained face was a hand. It was a man’s hand, making shapeless, meaningless marks in the shallow sand and rocks.
“Teacher?” the Pharisees continued, with both incredulous and annoyed tones. Nevertheless, nothing changed. I watched the rough and calloused hand making senseless inscriptions. As my tears fell, the marks continued. That moment lasted for years, it seemed. I found the strength and lifted my head, barely, only to get a glimpse of his eyes, the kind man’s compelling eyes, and my breathing stopped. His hand left the ground and then, I saw his feet, his dust-covered feet. At that moment, a voice, one I’d not heard before, began to speak.
“If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” I heard gasps and angry murmurs from my captors as his words processed as the hand returned to my level, continuing its seemingly pointless drawings. I wanted to warn this man, this man whom I did not understand, to move, for the stones would come soon enough. At that moment I was rapidly overtaken by sadness so deep, that I didn’t deserve his words or attention. I then heard the first rock, and all thoughts were sucked into the darkness inside me. I flinched as another dropped, and another, but none touched me, not one inch of me.
“Woman?” I heard his voice again, but it didn’t match his hand, as if it shouldn’t come from him, but a king adorned with honor and glory.
“Where are they that persecute you? Has no one condemned you?” I wondered at his gentle voice once again. Bringing my head up, ashamed to look into his eyes, I stared at each individual rock. They were thrown to my level by the very ones who had cared for them, just as they had thrown me away: alone, ashamed, and soiled. The black hole was disappearing, releasing my worries, hate, and sorrow.
“No one, sir.” I heard my breathless voice release these few words and fastened my gaze upon his eyes, listening to what they whispered.
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
At that point in my hopeless existence, I began to live. From that moment on, I followed this man, knowing what it meant to experience love. I followed calloused feet that knelt beside me, gentle hands that drew me out of my sin, and gracious eyes that rescued me from the bottomless depths. He freed me from an awful death I deserved. Now, he was being brutally punished for the sin I had been saved from; tortured for the shortcomings of everyone I’d ever known, and everyone to come. As his beautiful eyes glanced down at me once more, I realized that this man, my savior, was compelled by something worthy of a cross. He was compelled by love.



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LauraAnne said...
Mar. 12, 2011 at 11:56 am:

WOW.

The emotions put into this really shock me. I've never been into religion, but the way you portray it, well, I might give it a chance.

 
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