Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven"
Yesterday at church we had the most wonderful sermon on the anointing of Jesus by a sinful woman. You know, the one where she washes Jesus feet with her tears and dries them with her hair? The phrase extravagant happiness was used and it sort of leapt out at me and made me smile inwardly. What a wonderful thought, that God wants us to be extravagantly happy. Another blogger has posted about finding happiness in the simple things of life. Those moments are wonderful and take us by surprise, but this act of devotion, gratitude, repentance and unalloyed joy was surely life changing for this woman. It was untidy. This was a posh dinner. She was a woman. A woman of ill repute no less. She should not even have had her hair uncovered, much less throwing it all over a holy man's feet! How embarrassing. Have you ever done anything fantastic in a moment of wild happiness?
We were reminded last night that forgiveness is so key to walking closely with Jesus, and were invited to kneel for anointing with oil if we felt that there were people in our lives that we needed to forgive, grudges we needed to let go of. As I waited to be called forward for communion I noticed that almost the whole congregation had responded and were kneeling to receive this oil. As I knelt myself and the priest's hands gently rested on my head, I felt a light joy going through the whole of my body. I layed in bed last night drifting off to sleep and thinking of all the people that I had grudges against, big and small. The list seemed to go on and on so I gave up. Filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit I just prayed, 'Forgive them all, forgive them all, forgive them all!', and went peacefully off to sleep.