Monday, January 9, 2012
because love covers a multitude of smells
today, i’m celebrating the value of community.
and sharing a story about my morning as pig pen.
as i walked through the church doors yesterday morning, i saw a friend and gave her a hug. but i didn’t realize that she had an open tin of fish in one hand – until my hand felt wet after our hug . . . apparently, she had just finished an object lesson for a children’s class, and was looking for a good place to dispose of the hazardous material.
i stopped in the bathroom to give my hands a quick wash, and then headed to the worship center. as soon as my husband and i got seated, i was knocked over by the stench of fish that had me on the verge of nausea.
so i exited the premises and bee lined to the restroom. only i couldn’t locate the origin of the smell. so i rubbed a soapy paper towel all over the one side of my sweater and pants, and returned to the worship center.
moments later, it became grossly apparent that all my lathering hadn’t resolved the putrid stench.
i felt helpless.
i was embarrassed.
in a room with about 1,000 other people, i spotted a good friend of mine. and at that moment, she was taking off her blazer.
in the seat.
front of me!
i broke out in the hallelujah chorus asked my husband if i should ask her to borrow it. but i was clearly asking entirely rhetorically, because without delay, i reached my hand out to her shoulder and asked. (mhmm, pretty much like the kid at the dinner table who asks, “are you gonna eat that??”)
my status quo was clearly dysfunctional, and i had spotted a new pair of shoes!
and let me tell ya, there was nothing but a desperate willing heart here.
my friend joyfully gave me the blazer off her back. which didn’t actually surprise me – because that’s the will-give-you-the-shirt-off-her-back kind of friend she is.
so i disturbed the people sitting next to us now a third time hit the restroom yet again. and i returned a new woman.
the blazer fit.
and it was cute!
and you know, friends, that’s exactly what Christ does for us. He rescues us from the overwhelming stench of our sin, and clothes us with new life. too often, we keep rubbing our soapy paper towels all over our messy hearts to try to make them clean. but the stench of sin will always remain unless our hearts are washed in the cleansing blood of Christ, and we are clothed anew.
as i sat there grateful for my new look (and smell), our pastor was speaking about none other than the importance of community. reminders to the body of Christ that we need each other. that we’re dependent on one another.
with my eau de tropicale, i was living proof. i was exhibit A.
and that was far from the first time.
community is a place where we remind each other of God’s strong love.
a place where we have the freedom to ask, the assurance of support, and the opportunity to bless.
true friends offer reflections of God’s glory as we live out life with them.
whether it’s through their gestures of support, their faithful prayers, their words of encouragement, or their inspiring example of God's power as they persevere through life’s hardest trials.
true friends live out the essence of the gospel.
because the purpose of friendship, the purpose of community, is that hearts and affections are drawn to Jesus.
thank you, my friend, for loving on me with a beautiful, practical portrayal of the gospel. (and all those around me enthusiastically thank you, too!)