You don’t have to go home…
“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” How many of us have heard this line before? Perhaps as ayoung adult out on the town during a well-warned night of socializing, after hours of spilling it all to the bartender or the bar stool next to you. Or perhaps at the hairdressers after telling your stylist your latest saga. Either way, we’ve all been there. The lights go out, the smoke clears or the hair dryer is silenced. The music is but a distant memory of background noise and they are escorting you out the door. Keys in hand, they prepare to empty the place and you are the last to go.
“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here,” they say. But where do you go when home isn’t so cozy? Where do you go when the phone line is dead and you can’t ‘phone a friend’, when there’s no place to hang your hat and clicking your heels together gets you no where? Where do you go?
Mary was probably a beautiful young lady. But home never held an address for her. To be sure, her bags were always packed and ready for quick escape. Her face held many lines of regret and multiple potholes of mistakes. She was on her own. Independent some might call it these days. Back then, she was an outcast. The town’s people judged her as she crossed the street. The elders of the church whispered as she slipped through the allies. As the sun faded on each stormy day, where was she to go? Certainly she could muster a smile of pretense. One that said, “I have made it this far alone and I don’t need you or anyone else”. Still at the end of the day, she found no Ruby slippers to bring her peace.
So this day could not have been a suprise for her. Certainly she had it marked on the calendar as a possibility of happenings. The town’s people had finally caught her red handed doing what she did best…prostituting (in our current terms). Multiple men, married men. They might as well have placed a big red “”A” on her chest…they intended to. As they drug her through the streets to give her what she long desyrved, they called Jesus to witness. Mary had no family to back her. No one to call on in her time of need. There was no public defender or 2:00 a.m. friend she could count on. In fact, she could count on one hand all her closest friends and still have a hand full on nothing.
There she lay on the ground…face down in the dirt. Certainly where she belonged in their eyes. Each one took a stone in hand prepared to give the sentence to the fullest extent of the law. There was silence as Jesus bent down to draw in the sand. What was he doing playing in the dirt at a time such as this? “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” he said to the “jury” of the town. Silence remained.
As Mary crawled, broken and bruised, to the feet of Jesus, he held out a hand to lift her up. Surely, this was the first moment anyone had offered a hand up. With eyes of regret she faced her judge. “Look around you…where are your accusers?” He asked the battered soul. As the two stood alone in a place that once held a court room, he said, “go and sin no more.”
There is somewhere to go when you can’t go home. The feet of Jesus is always a safe place. With an outstretched hand, He offers forgiveness. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans of a hope and a future. Plans to prosper and not harm”. Jeremiah 29:11