As I was folding the clothes I just took out of the dryer, I came across some shorts. In January. "That's funny. Josiah must have worn these around the house." (and I just didn't see him? Yeah, just shake off the admission that I am not always, totally, and completely aware of all that my children are doing all day.) And then I folded a boys size 2 shirt and thought again, "I don't remember seeing anybody wear this in a long time..." Then, (finally) I realized the jacket I just folded was one I put into the Goodwill bag! What?! I was washing and folding CLEAN clothes!! Argh!
And then I got a bit of a revelation...
That is a lot like church.
Now, before you call me a heretic or heathen, hear me out.
Have you ever noticed that the people at church almost always look really nice? Almost everyone acts really nice? You see the most lovely, friendly, well dressed, happy people at church, right? A bunch of neat, clean, and orderly people. And we are usually told to go and "do unto all the world"?
Go and do what? Go and act like we have it all together so everyone else will just smile and act like they have it all together? So we can all answer "How are you?" with a "Good!" and move right along?
I don't know about you, but there are times that I am not good and really, quite frankly, I get tired of acting like I have it all together. Can't I just be real and say my heart is broken? But isn't that what church, I don't even mean the building we attend on Sunday, but The Church, is supposed to do? Isn't it really supposed to be a hospital for wounded, broken, hopeless people? When did it become a place for all the "clean" people? I just wonder if Jesus sometimes feels like Sunday morning is His chore of washing the clean people...
Last week at church, I didn't sing during praise and worship. I didn't even stand up. Everyone around me was standing and singing and I just sat there crying and crying. The past few months have shaken my faith and really caused me to question things I thought I really knew. I have learned that God is big enough to handle my doubts, my fear, my anger, my grief. He doesn't want me to look spiffy and smile while I am drowning inside! He wants me, He wants us all! to come to Him with all of our dirt, with our stains and messes!
This week at church, the woman in front of me was the mess. She is the one who just cried and cried. I put my hand on her shoulder, and she grabbed my hand and held on tight. I don't know her. I have never seen her before. But she is broken and wounded. If we are really to be the hands and feet of Jesus, let's not pretend we are all clean and tidy ourselves. We might have to actually reach out and touch someone, literally. Sit with her and listen to her story instead of rushing out to be first in line at lunch. Church doesn't have to be a woeful place with no joy. No indeed! It should be the most joyful place on Earth! But it should be REAL. And the reality is, no one is clean and proper all the time.
Let's stop pretending. Let's stop wasting time washing what is clean and really get down to the dirty work of being real.