Go, Old Man, and Sin No More

“When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court,” (John 8:9).

I suppose what finally got to me was him stooping down to write in the dirt. What he’d said about those having no sin casting the first stone, well, that stung, but his writing in the dirt seared. Like his finger was a hot iron, and my soul the soil.

I looked down at the dust under my feet. Adamah in my mother tongue. Thus Adam, the dirt-man. And me, no different, just worse. A dirtbag of bones and blood. And soon, probably very soon, a wrinkled body decomposing into the stuff of its origin. Just getting out of bed in the morning hurts. And, honestly, I don’t think I could even raise my arm high enough to throw this rock if I tried.

The dirt that man is writing in shall soon roll me up like a scroll. My life will be unwritten, erased by the hand of mortality. And fool that I am, I stand here threatening to snuff out the life of a woman caught in the act which I have acted out in my heart with a thousand women.  Oh, one of the blessed curses of living long years like I have is filling up those years with even more sins.

What is it we pray in that psalm by Moses? “You turn man back into dust, and say, ‘Return, O children of men.’” Man spoken into being from dust spoken back into being dust. If today were several years hence, the dirt the man is writing in might well be the man I once was.

The only impression I’ll leave in the dust today will be the one left by the rock I dropped before I turned to go home to sin no more. God knows I’ve sinned enough already.

The only sinner who needed to be killed was me. The dirt-man, with sin written all over me, slain by words I couldn’t even read scribbled in soil. And in the mercy that that strange man from Nazareth showed, to the woman as well as to me, I rose again.