Creating Space to Think

Copyright WCC/Peter Williams

John 7:53-8:11

This week's study is by Lucy D’Aeth who is a Methodist Local Preacher with a doctorate in pastoral theology which focuses on television soap opera.  She has worked extensively in public health and community development.  English by birth and a New Zealander by choice, she currently lives in Switzerland.

In this study the short familiar text explores the complexity of "Morality" as well as the violence of mob thought.  Dr. D'Aeth also looks at the way violence has been used to create conformity in society and asks what role Jesus can play in diffusing violent situations and cultures.   

Here are some highlights from the study:

The woman is not even the centre of the scribes’ and Pharisees’ concern. Her individual act is much less important to them than the opportunity it gives them to trap Jesus. She is merely an object – “a teaching moment” – providing Jesus’ enemies with an opportunity to catch Jesus out.

Those challenging Jesus knew full well that he is being given an impossible choice – backing the Law of Moses, or the law of the Roman occupiers, which states that only the governor can impose a death sentence.

While only one person may be hit, all around are affected, as the ripples of violence spread. The adverts in this week’s study are aimed at breaking this cycle of violence.

It’s not just violent physical acts which wound.  It’s angry words, gestures and the mind games which play out in family life.  In human relationships, the triggers of violence are never far from the surface.

The crowd watching and the scribes and Pharisees are not named – they are acting as a group and as we know, people in large groups are capable of things that the individuals in the group might never envisage doing if they were alone.

Transforming a violent confrontation into a moment for reflection and growth is a miracle.  

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