It is 32 degrees outside. It is not the first time I have felt the chill of 32 degrees on my skin, but this morning, gratitude overtook me. I find myself whispering prayers of gratitude for walls and doors and windows and roofs, for heaters and warm clothes and that I’m never cold for long. I’m noticing how much I take these things for granted. The light breaking through the once-darkened windows catches my eye, and I find myself unable to look away. With deep breaths, I try to inhale this scene into my very being–the beauty and the majesty of it all. I’m captivated by the picturesque view–the trees silhouetted against a brilliant sky of ever-lightening blue giving way to orange just above the rooftops as the sun declares that it is coming. With promises of warmth and light and life, the sun is coming. And we gather weekly to declare that the son has come and indeed is coming. His glorious light has been shone upon us and we are never the same again. What was once shrouded in darkness has now become visible. The frost begins to fade away and things–both lovely and unlovely–are revealed. And we call ourselves children of the light. What tempts us to return to the darkness? With the advent of the light, elements take shape and we cannot unsee them. We begin to see ourselves and our surroundings as they truly are. No longer can we fumble about, excusing our clumsiness by blaming the cloak of darkness. No longer can we feign unawareness over that which we have been hiding and denying all along. The son has come, and the light is marvelous and blinding. There are things best left in the shadows, we say; pieces of us we hide with a comb over and layers of makeup. But the beautiful message of the Gospel is that we bring our whole selves–our best features together with our trouble areas, our victories and our failures, the holy embodiments and the sinful indulgences–we bring it all to Jesus who washes it in his blood, purifying and cleansing every bit of us. The beauty of the Gospel is that we don’t have to have our act together–in fact, we have to admit that we don’t have our act together. And we don’t try to clean up or hide or diminish our impurities. We’re honest about them, made humble by them, loved in spite of and because of them. God already knows we’re imperfect, so let’s stop pretending to each other that we are. May we be a body that basks in the light; humbled by our imperfections, revealing our impurities and laying them bare for God’s healing work to be done.
(Originally written for the Westside Church of Christ blog)