Give Up The Stones

Friday: Second Week of Lent
John 7:53-8:11

Do you have a hero? If so, who is it?

I could die at any point in the short-term or medium-term future, but tragedies aside I’ll probably live another three or maybe four decades. I’m “middle-aged,” apparently, and it suits me mostly fine but there’s one thing about this stage of life I don’t especially like: it’s the short supply of heroes. Role models. People to look up to. When I was younger they seemed to be everywhere. Like the world was clogged full of them and I’d have to elbow my way into the crowd just get some breathing room. Now it’s like trying to find the nail-clippers or my favourite socks or some leftover chocolate—I have to go looking for these people now.

I found some in chapter eight: the guys who dropped their rocks, “the older ones first” (8:9). I want to be like them when I grow up. I’d like to be the kind of old man who’s seen enough of life to know when he’s made a mistake and is first to come to his senses right in the middle of a bloodthirsty mob. Yes, true, it’d be best not to be in such a mob in the first place but I’m a religious person and mob-mentalities tend to come with the territory so if or when I do find myself swept up in that kind of a mess I at least aspire to be someone who’s quick to snap out of it.

Grace is often slow and when a crowd is in a frothy zeal even a line as sharp as “whoever hasn’t sinned can throw first” needs a moment to find its mark (8:7). Maybe all that writing in the sand was just a stall tactic. It’s lucky for that woman her accusers included people old enough to eventually come around to a similar conclusion.

It’s Lent and apparently that means we’re supposed to give up chocolate or the Internet or eat more fish or whatever, but here’s an idea: give up the stones. Set them down and go looking for a hero instead, preferably an old one.

When was the last time you made a mistake and made it known as soon as you realized it?


Paul Cumin is Lead Pastor at Pemberton Community Church in Pemberton, BC.

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