Excerpt from John 7:53 – 8:11
“And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.'”
Reflection by Donna Schaper
“You are not your fault,” said Anne Lamott. So then whose fault are we? Frankly, is there any fault? The question of blame has all but taken over our conversation. If I get sick, what did I do to cause it? If there is a deficit, what did I do to make it happen? If I get pregnant and am 14, there is a lot said on television about what I did to cause my fertility to be fertile at an inopportune time.
What would life be like if we lived beyond and without blame? First of all, our days would be happier. We would lean forward rather than back into our loss and resentments. Secondly, we would blame fewer victims and be angrier with corporations for stealing our money and with Fox News for its war on women and girls. In congregations, we would not blame the pastor for not “growing” the church and learn ways to be responsible to each other and not for each other. We would know the attitude of lovingly mystified indifference, normally attributed only to the most mature Buddhist monks. Finally, we would live like Jesus, who knew only how to love and lead and seemed to have missed the course in blame and condemnation.
Both right and left had a field day blaming each other for the Tucson deaths and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Am I the only one amazed that when she first found her speech she asked for toast, not revenge? Doesn’t toast seem like a funny thing to want after you have nearly been killed? Roger Rosenblatt, in Making Toast, tells us he enjoys making toast for his grandchildren, after the untimely death of their mother and his daughter. Most of the time we put condemnation and exterminationist violence into the word toast. “I wish they were toast,” we’ll say. Jesus says something different. “Neither do I blame you.” Living without blame means we can also live without revenge…and share a piece of bread together, every now and then, under the most difficult of circumstances.
O God, teach us to love making toast with each other. Let the blame game be exterminated and let the rest of us live. Amen.
About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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