Monday Rewrite: A Whole New Language

It’s breaking her heart to see him like this. This isn’t right. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all… Somewhere above a vulture circles in a threatening sky, and it’s as if the bird’s jagged claws are spearing her heart as she watches the horrific scene through the open doorway. The tears weave trails on her cheeks, her breath comes in broken furious gasps. She studies the face of this pharisee, this religious expert, who thinks he knows everything and clearly knows nothing. A hardened mask of judgement. His mouth spilling criticism like a filthy toxic river. No smile, no light in his eyes, no freedom in his soul. Just a strangling grip from the sad, merciless years. No sign of a new start, no dawning of forgiveness, no rising sun of hope. Instead he sits there, body taut, neck bulging with veins, as he puts his guest right on a whole torrent of petty regulations. This meal was never about friendship, it was always going to be a vicious lesson in law. The kind of law that puts down, belittles, strangles. And so she shuffles in, aware but not caring about the roomful of eyes turned upon her. She falls to her knees, her fierce tears splashing across his weary dusty ankles. Her hair smoothing away the grime from these beautiful feet, these bringers of peace, of good news. The room is charged with uncertainty, but there is no doubt in her mind. She cries on and keeps wiping away, and before long she hears his voice. So different from the Pharisee’s, almost musical, a song of strength and courage. Words with the power to break chains. He’s talking about forgiveness and kindness, and the way these things can’t help but spill out of lives that have received them. The pharisee is shifting in his seat, embarrassed, he wants the whole thing to be over. Can’t see what is on offer here. Love that turns everything on its head. Compassion that makes things so messy, yet makes things so much better. She looks up, his feet clean now, and he smiles at her. Everything about him tells her that she is accepted, her burden lifted. And somewhere nearby the pharisee looks on, perplexed, as if he is speaking a whole new language.
Luke 7.36

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