We Serve One Dirty God.
One thing I love about God is that He is not afraid to get his hands dirty. In our culture it’s pretty normal to picture a God who is distant and detached from the happenings of this world in sheer indifference, as if God was like “Oh look what’s happening in the world…Ewww! So icky.” But here is some good news for …He is willing to get into the mess with us. You know that friend who is always there who is neither losing themselves in your mess but neither cold and distant? Yeah, that’s what God is like on a cosmic scope.
Now there is often a ‘theological pushback’ on everything I am saying, the pushback sounds like this: “But Sin can’t be in the presence of God!”. But actually this pushback misunderstands the power of God’s love and holiness (Which aren’t opposed to each other by the way) and misunderstands sin (But that’s a blog for another time!). God is not like a pristine car upon which no one can touch it for fear of leaving a mark, but rather He is like a powerful but gentle ocean that washes away the mud from our bodies. And a little mud won’t taint the whole ocean, but it will wash it away. God is bigger than our mess & mud. God is bigger than our addictions & idols. And when God does come near He will rattle us yes, but it won’t compromise Him.
And then there’s Jesus. The very presence of God among man. He kind of dined with the sinners, healed the outcasts of society, ate with the tax collectors, spoke to all people who would have had various problems.
Jesus was in the dirt.
Jesus was in the mess.
Jesus was in the tears, the mud and the blood.
We don’t serve a Jesus who goes “Ewwww!” and runs away from the mess. He enter into it.
Jesus dives into the midst of the chaos. And yet He brings the calm.
That’s what I love about Jesus. He isn’t just afraid to get His hands dirty, but He brings Himself into the mess & darkness, and through who He is…He heals us.
Now some of my readers think Jesus is like what you see in some uber religious organisation. Priests in nice gold gown, a detached sense of high & mighty piety that doesn’t look at what’s going on in the street around the high church wall buildings, or if you go in there you will have a lightning bolt thrown at you (Or as some people think). Now is there something wrong with wearing nice clothes if you so will, and good morals? No, but a sense of “better then you”, a sense of “we have our own little club that doesn’t get our hands dirty” this sense of “stay away from our holy place!”- well none of this exists in the life of Jesus.
I hope the true Jesus, the one who comes not with love for power but with power of love, is the Jesus you see afresh. Because Jesus goes into the darkness. There is nothing so dirty that Jesus’ love won’t enter into and heal.
And if you’re a Christian, let this challenge the way you do church. Are you the type who wants to keep calm & control so much that you don’t allow the mess & the muck in? This is not saying there is no legitimate control, but it’s a control that transcends what’s happening around you. It allows the mess but with Jesus in the middle. Without Jesus it is just mess and that’s it. With Jesus moving in the middle life can come through the dirt.
That is after all, how our ultimate healing was assured.
Jesus didn’t look at the powers of darkness, death, sin, oppressive rulers and go “ewww”. Rather, He to the cross and said “Not my will but your be done”. Jesus went to the cross to confront the mess of the world in one spot, and He won over it. The cross with blood & guts was the world’s messiest spot, but rather than the Roman execution cross winning by killing Jesus it became the very place where Jesus would win through love and confound the powers behind the nails in Jesus hands. But how? By rising from the dead. Jesus defeats the cross through the Cross & Resurrection. Jesus enters into darkness and wins against. He brings victory against darkness but first entering into it.
Might I suggest- that for the Christians who are reading this post- that that’s how we win. We go into darkness without becoming the darkness nor condoning it, but by bringing Jesus power of love into it.
Now THAT’S messy.
May you come and see the radical love of Jesus who can enter into the chaos at its worst and brings life. May you come and imitate your life after His as God awakens you and transforms you into Jesus through the power of His Spirit.