It’s a big day in American politics and it seems as if the entire world is watching. And yet, the world continues to turn. Amidst all of the media attention being directed towards this election life is being given, and taken. As I logged on to my computer this morning I visited the BBC website. The headline read “Big day for the USA,” and there were fancy flash banners advertising up-to-the-minute election coverage (and this was the BBC, I can’t imagine what the CNN website is like!).
I scrolled down the page a bit and came across a much smaller headline. This one had no flash banners to accompany it. It read: “Stoning victim ‘begged for mercy'”. All I had to do was read the opening sentences and I felt a deep sense of sadness and regret. The first couple of sentences read like this:
A young woman recently stoned to death in Somalia first pleaded for her life, a witness has told the BBC. “Don’t kill me, don’t kill me,” she said, according to the man who wanted to remain anonymous. A few minutes later, more than 50 men threw stones. Human rights group Amnesty International says the victim was a 13-year-old girl who had been raped. Initial reports had said she was a 23-year-od woman who had confessed to adultery before a Sharia court.”
The story continues on to say that she was forced into a hole in ground, buried up to her neck and then bombarded with stones until she died. All of this happened in front of more than 1,000 people.
At one point nurses were brought out to check on the girl to see if she was dead. They dug her out of the hole only to discover that she was still alive. Then they put her back in the hole and the men continued to stone her until she died.
A 13-year-old girl. Raped by 3 men, but accused of adultery. Stoned to death by 50.
I can’t help but be reminded of another familiar sounding story…
At dawn [Jesus] appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Father, we’re thankful for your grace and mercy. A grace and mercy that is so unlike ours and so beyond our realm of thinking. We think now about this young muslim girl in Somalia. Raped, brought before the courts, dragged out in front of thousands and stoned to death by 50 men. This isn’t right. This can’t be what you’ve planned for your Creation. Rescue us from ourselves. Thank you that you have indeed broke through creation and become one of us. Thank you that you redeemed each one of us and reconciled us to yourself. Thank you that we can be made whole. Let your kingdom come and be manifest on earth like it is in heaven. Nothing can stop you from accomplishing your will. Teach us to forgive like you’ve forgiven us. Thank you that you’re with this girls family. May love be present there.