It was all I could offer to him...

No Psalm this Sunday... Instead this is a dialogue that I'll be performing with another member of the congregation at our 11am communion service this morning... It started out life as an episode in a piece I wrote for New Irish Arts and the Centre For Contemporary Christianity in Ireland years ago, entitled "I Witness". It was based on the testimonies of various people that Jesus encounters in Luke's Gospel, with this piece being taken from Luke 7: 36-8: 3.

Man:      Although he insisted on associating with undesirables, we Pharisees didn’t wash our hands of him entirely… Various friends of mine invited him to their homes… But the rabble even followed him there… On one occasion a woman came into the banqueting room after the meal and knelt down at the bottom of his couch… She was bawling her eyes out… and with her kisses and her tears she washed his feet, before drying them with her hair and pouring perfume on them… It was disgusting… She was as good as offering herself to him as dessert…
Woman:   It was all I could offer to him… I had used my body to bring relief to men in the past… Some of them were round that table. But then they had paid me… bought me… used and abused me… But he didn’t. The others treated me like dirt beneath their feet that they wanted to wash off, but he didn’t… so I suppose that is why I thought I would wash his feet...  He knew what I was…
Man:     Everyone there knew who she was… what she was… except him… At least that’s what we thought… One of my friends said, in a stage whisper “If this man were really a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."
Woman: I heard them talking about me… And so did he… I was waiting for him to recoil… but he didn’t… Instead…
Man:       When he heard this he turned to our host and asked: “"If two men owed money to a money-lender - one owed him £40,000, and the other £4000, and neither had the money to pay him back, so he wrote off both debts, which of them will love the moneylender more?"
Woman:   I was listening – but I wasn’t quite sure what he was getting at…
Man:       Our host replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt cancelled."
Woman:   Then he looked at me and said: Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.”
Man:     The ingratitude of the man… Telling off his host after enjoying his hospitality, whilst holding up this… this… whore as some sort of good example…
Woman:   He knew I was far from perfect… He said “Her many sins have been forgiven – for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."  - “She loved much” - until that day I had never known the meaning of love…
Man:       Love! What’s love got to do with it? Faith… faithfulness… is the key…
Woman:   He reached down and raised me up saying "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." 
Man:     Faith! Where was her faith? Where was his? What about staying faithful to the law? Staying pure… 
Woman:   I wasn’t the only one to feel like this, others that he healed and accepted followed him around supporting him any way we could… And many of them were women like me…
Man:     What sort of a man lives off the earnings of woman of ill-repute? What sort of Messiah has sinners as supporters?

Selah

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