A Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice…

Back in the day when everything
was literal to her,
she memorized this passage
the whole chapter
and verse
and she tried to follow through
she worked at it
believed the words
took them into her heart
for twenty years…
And then one day she wanted more,
There was a hollowness to the words,
she knew there was something missing.
But truth be told there was so much
broken from too many years of
getting beaten up and beaten down
too many years of humiliation and pain
and their insistance that she
was nothing but a piece of garbage,
worthless and useless,
And she went searching for more.
She searched in places that surprised her,
and found pleasure, which delighted her.
She discovered her body and began to love it
because someone else loved it as well.
But the old messages started in
and she went searching again.
Eventually she found another,
but the other had messages from the past
floating around and things got hard
and there was anger.
And she went searching again…
sorting through trash heaps
sorting through piles of garbage,
looking for the treasure
And she thought she had found it,
but discovered that the one she’d found
didn’t want someone who had searched through trash heaps,
And somehow, all the garbage had gotten stuck to her
and the whispers began
and people avoiding her, slamming the door in her face
walking away, spreading the word,
when they didn’t even know her.
And she began to feel that she just belonged
there in the trash heap
that maybe they were right after all
That she was worthless,
nothing but garbage.
Present your bodies a living sacrifice…
those old familiar words came in a whisper
a song,
and she wanted to do that
but how do you start again
when you’re covered in so much slime
and so much shame?
How do you start again
when that is all people see
and judge you for?
How do you share truth
when everyone thinks you are only worthless trash
and wouldn’t know truth…
Except she had never lied.
She had ever and only wanted to find
Jesus in the search.
But no one would believe it…
this trashy, worthless woman
whose life belonged to the gutter.
Is there a happy ending?
She hears him ask her
“Who do you say that I am?”
And she doesn’t know the answer anymore…
it feels distant
and she feels sad and lost
cut off from the One
she has always loved.
And she asks him the question
throws it back to him
with all of her feelings
all of her pain
and wonders what he will answer…
“Who do you say that I am?”
And for a moment all she sees and hears
are those old voices
and all those righteous voices
“trash” worthless, shameful…
And then Jesus smiles into her eyes
and wraps his arms around her
even with all the garbage there,
and Spirit breathes up quite the windstorm
blowing away the debris
And Jesus picks her up
and washes away the rest
with some of that living water,
he always talks about.
But the others still didn’t understand
didn’t get it,
didn’t see
only something that was never true.
And that was the hard part
the part that one wonders about
the part that feels impossible
to overcome.
Cold angry neighbors
talking about things that shouldn’t be spoken of.
Righteous church people
who could never accept her again
Upright community people
who would never have anything
to do with such a person…
and even those who could be friends
won’t offer a hug, won’t share the deeper things.
Who do you say that I am?
She knows God’s answer
because it isn’t what “they” say that defines her
It is God’s great heart that has room for her
It is the delight in Jesus eyes that gives her hope.
It is the song that Spirit sings that reminds her of who she is.
And that is her answer.
And somehow, they’ll find a way together.
And maybe someday the people will remember
what love is all about, and loving neighbor as self
…and come back to the one
who washes away the shame, the humiliation, the pain…
She’s been thinking lately
about going back to the trash heap
to look for others like herself
who need to be reminded
of who they are.
And maybe that will be redemption
When she puts her arms around
the broken ones who live in shame.

copyright 2011, Caris Cerdwyn, All Rights Reserved
(Please feel free to use this material in worship with acknowledgement given)

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