“Called…to Show Up”

On Oct. 6, Pastor Katy preaches on Luke 7:36-50.

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 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. Then she continued 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 creditor 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 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 sins, which were many, 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 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” For the most part, I agree with dear ol’ Woody, but I would insist on removing the word “just” from this quote. For most of us, there is nothing menial or easy about showing up, and I mean showing up with our full selves. We can be physically present somewhere while our minds wander on the beaches of Cancun. We can be in a hard conversation with someone and reveal pieces of ourselves but hold back our deepest and most authentic self to try and protect or guard it. Showing up, really showing up, is at least 80% of the battle.

In the story of the unnamed woman with the unnamed sin who shows up with the alabaster jar of ointment, Luke gives us a glimpse of what it means to fully show up. We can assume from the story that this woman has already met Jesus, and we know he’s already forgiven her for whatever sin she was infamous for. She doesn’t follow him into Simon’s house because she needs something from Jesus; she shows up because of what Jesus has already done, and she really shows up. She doesn’t say a single recorded word and is all but invisible except for her undignified actions. She’s not worried about what anyone will think, she’s not worried about the financial cost of what she does, she’s not thinking about what she wants to cook for dinner; she is fully present and tending to Jesus. Showing up, really showing up, is hard, but it is exactly what we are called to. After all, Jesus first showed up for us