Wednesday, 1 December 2021

What a mess!

December 2021

Dear Friends

Sometimes a bit of advice is all we need when we mostly know what we’re doing.  However, when we’re really stuck, mere advice is the last thing we need. 

“You should have removed the widget first.”
“Yes, I can see that, but it’s too late because now I’ve broken the whole thing!”

“You need to take a firm control of this situation.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do all along!  Do you think I messed this up deliberately?”

When we’re really making a mess of something then we don’t just need someone to tell us what to do, we need someone to get down into the mess we’ve made, to come alongside us to help us, or perhaps to fix the problem for us.

That’s what Jesus was doing when he came to us.  We had God’s instructions, but we didn’t and couldn’t keep them.  We already had a good idea what wise living would look like, but we were incapable of breaking out of our foolishness.  We knew what kind of behaviour threatened the peace of our family, village and  nation but we had no power to change.

And so Jesus, God’s eternal Son, came to us in our mess.  If you don’t accept that Jesus is God’s Son let me gently ask whether you have read one of the Gospel eye-witness accounts recently?  How else do you account for Jesus’ extraordinary life and the unparalleled influence he has across the world?

Jesus did not come to show us up (though it’s true that our self-absorbed ways don’t  look good against his selflessness).  Jesus did not come merely to instruct us (although there would be much to learn from him if we were able to take it in).  Jesus became one of  us – he shared in our weakness, he submitted himself to the treachery of his own people and the cruelty of Roman execution – to save us from a messy end.

He joined us in our mess, not to tell us to sort it out but to generously do that for us.  Now he calls us to simply trust him as he invites us to join his mess-free family with Jesus as our brother, his Father as our father and his Spirit to live in us.

That’s Christmas Joy!

Graham Burrows

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