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Wednesday, June 15            Becky Corson            Healing and Anointing
Gospel of Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus[i] to eat with him, and when he went into the Pharisee’s house he reclined to dine. 37 And a woman in the city who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair, kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus[j] said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

There’s a theory floating around that we all tend to show love in five different ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. These are called “love languages.” A guy named Dr. Gary Chapman wrote about them in his book The 5 Love Languages.

Here’s a quick synopsis of each love language:

Words of affirmation - Giving freely spoken affection, praise, encouragement, and compliments. 
Acts of Service – Willingly easing the workload of loved ones (helping with chores, for example). 
Giving gifts – Bestowing thoughtful tokens of affection to loved ones. Not in a materialistic way or trying to “buy friendship,” but to show you’re thinking of that particular person.
Quality time – Giving undivided attention without distraction. Active listening and conversation. 
Physical touch – Sharing affection with hugs and other appropriate touches to convey warmth and safety.     

My first reaction to the woman in today’s Gospel reading was a little on the judgmental side. Her behavior is over-the-top extravagant, and honestly a little odd. And Jesus’ reaction concerned me. He really seems to enjoy and appreciate the extravagance. He even starts comparing Simon’s behavior to the woman’s and says “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little.”

As I sat with the Gospel reading, I wondered how I’d react if I met Jesus. Certainly not like the woman in the story. That sort of behavior doesn’t fit my personality. That’s when those love languages popped into my head. The woman understands her sins are forgiven and her reaction to this incredible gift is to shower Jesus with almost scandalous acts of love. This is her love language. 

My use of those love languages might be a little more subdued. That’s okay. In whatever ways we express our love for Jesus, he sees into our hearts and forgives us. And with a love language that is beyond comprehension, he loves us right back. 

How do you express your love for Jesus? 

Gracious God, thank you for your gifts of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. We will never be able to repay your generosity. Give us the wisdom and strength to pay your love forward to our family and friends, and to our community. Using our own love languages, guide us as we share your love to the world. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

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