“And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that [Jesus] was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.” (Luke 7:37)
It was as unlikely a meeting as one might imagine: he, a Pharisee, and she, a “sinner.” She had no business being in his house; he didn’t want her there. Yet meet they did, because of Jesus.
The newborn child at his mother’s breast, surrounded by unkempt shepherds and serenaded by a choir of angels, was as unlikely a meeting of God and humanity as one might conceive. He, the Christ; they, mortal sinners all. Yet meet they did, because God chose to be present with us.
There are some who still think it strange or wrong for people of various races and cultures to come together in churches, in schools, in homes, in marriage. Yet the Christ in the cradle became the Christ on the cross so that barriers separating us may be as powerless to keep us apart as the gravestone was to hold back the body of Christ. Pray, this silent night, that we will meet. Because of Jesus.
This message is adapted from a devotion written by Valora Starr for Women of the ELCA in 2004. Today we remember Stephen, deacon and martyr.