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John 8 – The Adulterous Woman

For centuries the traditional Church has tried to ban St. John’s story of the adulterous woman from the Bible.  In some Bibles it is missing even today.  Why?

Without a trace of judgment Christ forgives what a person has done.  He does not condemn.  Isn’t that a license to commit adultery?

You could compare the people who want to ban this story from the Bible with the Scribes and Pharisees, who could not imagine guilt without penalty.

This is a deeply rooted tendency that is still there in each of us.  We may not penalize the mistakes of others with stones, but we proclaim devastating judgments, which lead a life of their own in our media and make the perpetrators into culprits.  We think and speak evil about people who, in our eyes, are wrong.  We ridicule people who, in our eyes, are stupid.  But also in our day the saying is true: “Whoever among you is free of sin let him throw the first stone…”

Adultery – every human being is guilty of it.  Someone has given it name: “Cosmic adultery.”  That is what philosopher Saint Martin calls our collective separation from the divine world.  We are detached from God, and in consequence of this we are detached from everything and everyone around us.  God has not abandoned us, but we, each one of us, have turned away from Him.  By our cosmic adultery we have lost the spirit.

And only by becoming aware of the loss of the spirit grows our longing for the awakening of the spirit.

And only through Him who, like a lamb, bears the sins of the world, is the abyss bridged that separates us from God.


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 17, 2024

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Just as in history there are eras of blossoming that you can compare with spring tide, we are also familiar with autumn tides of humanity, when all that has bloomed dies.  Author Roland Holst expressed this sense of an approaching end with the words:

… that I was born in the autumn of a world

And have to die in it.


We all have death at our heels—even more, he has become our inseparable companion.  You could despair in a world where so much is doomed to death, degenerates, and falls apart.  But try to think that everything would stay the same.  Just imagine that no one and nothing would die anymore—that is perhaps the worst that could happen to us.  What is doomed to death must die, to make space for new life.

In these days the altar has become black.  This color—or rather, this absence of all color—is more than the herald of irrevocable death.  If we dare to face death, if we dare to go through the eye of the needle, we come to know a form of life that is born from death.  We then look beyond the fall of a world in which everything has to die sooner or later.  Then you can say together with the poet:

I will no longer see the blades

Nor ever bind the sheaves again

But give me faith in the harvest

For which I serve.


-Rev. Bastiaan Baan, March 4, 2024