Ten years ago I wrote a post about a passage in The King James Version of The Bible, Luke chapter 7 verses 36-50. It is still my most favorite scripture because of the message of forgiveness and acceptance. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my niece performed, "Alabaster Box" by Cece Winans at the Nu'uana Central Seventh-day Adventist Church. This song is about my favorite scripture and the experience of the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears. My niece did a wonderful job showing her lower range. One day, hopefully far ahead in the future, she will really come to feel the meaning of the lyrics.
I am not a very religious woman. Even though I have attempted walking the path of a disciplined life, the woman I am today feels so constricted by religious edicts. The God I worship should make me feel free and not imprisoned by ideals. The macro view of God and the Universe is so much larger than one can comprehend. In a multi-verse of infinite possibility, why would God limit praise and worship to one way and one system? I will never understand this. Blame my pride or maybe my limited vision but I believe God is so much more than can be contained in religion. And yet, I admire the eternal principles and positive values espoused by writers in all religious texts from the Koran to the Bible to the way of the Tao and everything in between. I admire devoted parishioners for their perseverance and dedication to their selected path but at this point in my life, I am just an admirer and a student of spiritual and eternal thought from all "isms."
Forgiveness is such an important part of personal growth. Though I was raised in a staunch Christian home by a very strict Samoan mother and I was taught that I needed to confess my sins to a servant of God, I do not hold that belief today. I believe that each of us have a "God/dess" factor inside of us. It is part of our being. We are Gods in embryo and thus forgiveness of short-comings must happen within and not from an external element.
This song, Alabaster Box, is a wonderful story of forgiveness and the joy that comes after finding unconditional love. Forgiving myself for my indiscretions and shortcomings doesn't mean that my past is wiped away. Rather, forgiveness means that I love those parts of me and vow to make better choices moving forward. I could never look back at my life and wipe away the times that I thought I was "sinful." Some of my most favorite memories happened during those times. The most personal growth happened when I evolved out of those times and I would never wish to wipe them away. They are facets of who I am and help me to be compassionate and non-judgmental of someone else's path toward enlightenment.
I am drawn to these lyrics in the song:
Don't be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry then with my hair
You weren't there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his loving arms around me
Our personal sacrifices to give up who we were is no one's business but our own. And as we bow to whoever it is we worship, let it be because we feel deeply in our spirit that the time to change is at that moment and the time to release all the pain of our suffering is held in that moment. And then we let go and move forward. We love those parts of ourselves that we felt so conflicted about whether we think they are sinful or ugly, embrace that as another facet of our being that makes us more kind and more compassionate. There is no room to hate any parts of ourselves. It bars us from feeling unconditional love for us and anyone else that might be struggling with the same issues. God is love. I am love. You are love.
So today's Sunday Sermon is about opening up your own alabaster box to tuck away all the pain and sacrifice to be shared one day with someone who frees you from it.