I am unusual for a Pentecostal because I believe very strongly in the power of sacraments. Don't misunderstand me, I am not a Catholic or Lutheran in my understanding of the sacraments. Rather, I believe that God uses physical means alongside non-physical to make Himself knowable and to make it possible to experience Him.
This past week the Lord led me to John 8 through several different means. After God directs you to the same scripture over and over you tend to take notice. He kept showing me the woman caught in adultery as a symbol of ultimate rejection.
Ok, for those of you who are not familiar with the story right away, Jesus is in the temple teaching and a woman who was caught in adultery is brought before Him and He is asked if He agrees with Moses that she should be stoned. Jesus replies by writing in the dirt and telling those present to let whoever is without sin to stone her. When everyone walks away He tells her He will not condemn her and she should no longer sin.
Her story strikes me because she is being shamed in the ultimate way, her sin and her body have been made known to everyone and she is going to be put to death before God Himself in the temple. She has no recourse, no defense and no hope. According to the Law she must die and her hope of redemption must have been nonexistent. True hopeless. True shame. True rejection by all.
But what does Jesus do? Jesus writes in the dust. I believe it was a prophetic act in the tradition of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. While I cannot say for certain what He wrote, I believe the fact that He wrote something says a great deal. In our worst moments of shame, hopeless and rejection, Jesus is writing in the dust for us so that we might not be condemned.
This past week I gave a sermon to a young adults group and as I was preparing I felt the Holy Spirit saying that He had something sacramental planned. So my wife and I took a small, shallow box and filled it with sand and at the end of my sermon I invited each person to reflect and ask the Holy Spirit what Jesus wants to write in the sand for them in response to their most painful, hopeless and shamefilled memory. Then I gave them the opportunity to come to the alter and write privately what the Spirit told them that Jesus wanted to write for them.
Today I would suggest that you ask the Holy Spirit what Jesus would speak or write on your behalf. But I would also say, let Jesus' incarnation sink in. Seek Communion, write in the dust, or, go and intercede for someone who is in their moment of shame and hopelessness because God has become incarnate in Jesus and He desires to write in the dust for all of us.