I am reading a book titled “Redeeming Sex”
By Debra Hirsch
In chapter 7 she writes this:
“Apparently the Gospel doesn’t involve God simply obliterating our history. God is a redeemer not an eraser. Our past, in some way , will always be with us, always a part of who we are and have become, an inextricable part of our life narrative. “
The book is not so much about sex as an act but about sex as gender and how Jesus helps us through the minefield of gender identity and how we can love people no matter what.
Before I read this I was at Church. We have a wall at church that is purposefully rustic. I felt like God said to me, “look at this wall” and I said “ok, I’m looking,” and he said “no, Peter, look at this this wall and let it teach you something about me,”.
The wall is paneled with boards from pallets. The colors, size, shape and texture of each board are all different. As I gazed at it, I was looking at the boards first as a whole, as the entire wall, then individually, as boards that make up the wall. I noticed two distinct patterns on the wood. On some boards there had straight lines cut in. Others had curved lines cut in. I then realized that these patterns were made by the saws used to cut the wood. The boards with the straight lines had been cut with a band saw which has a straight blade and cuts in a straight line. The boards with the curved lines had been cut with a circular saw which spins on an arbor making the half circle lines.
I see this wall like a picture of our church, we are an assemblage of people from all over and we are all in varying states and places in our life, different shades, different textures, some of us are knottier than others but we all need each other to complete the wall.
We have been cut out with different methods. Our life’s have been sliced and shaped by different means. We carry the marks of the saw with us.
When Jesus was traveling south to north he made an unusual travel deviation. Unlike the other Jewish travelers of his day,he went through Samaria instead going around it.
He ended up at Jacobs well, a spot that would be special to both Jews and Samaritans.
While he was there he bumped into a woman with a dubious past and a scandalous present.
During their conversation Jesus exposes his knowledge of the woman, her past and present and is unoffended by her life and lifestyle and racial lineage.
“Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”
John 4:5-26 – NLT
This woman had both a past and a present that made her an outcast but Jesus sought her out. She will go on from this point in the story to tell her whole village about Jesus because he knew about her life yet loved and cared for her anyway.
God is not an eraser. Our “saw lines” stay with even after we encounter him and his grace and mercy.
In his letter to the believers in Rome Paul wrote this:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
Romans 5:6-11 – NLT
God is not an eraser, he is a redeemer, I hope that brings us relief and hope. Maybe we can find someone who needs to hear about this God we serve who seeks us out, while we were yet sinners.