Friday, September 19, 2008

A Purell Addict Meets the Bishop

This week, the clergy and lay people in our district had the opportunity to spend a little time with our new Bishop. It was a truly enjoyable experience, except for one thing...I think I heard him say there's no room for germ-o-phobes (like myself) in the Kingdom of God. He even quoted scripture. In John 14, Jesus says: "The one who believes in me will do the works that I do, and I tell you, even greater works." The Bishop went on to talk about how Jesus was touching the untouchables, loving on the lepers, and that the church and the followers of Jesus haven't been doing that as much as we should. Ouch. He said we have to find out who the lepers are in our communities (the ones who have been labelled "unclean"), and go out and touch them. Touch them? Are you nuts? Is that even legal? Is that wise? Is that really necessary for us to follow Jesus? The Bishop reminded us that this is truly what it means to share Christ with the world--to touch a bit of brokenness and uncleanness with the love of Christ. I have a little problem with doing just what the Bishop and Jesus are instructing me to do. I hate germs and's been that way since I was a kid sitting on the edge of the sandbox, putting only my hands in the sand. And whenever I'm confronted with things--or people--who aren't as generally "clean" as I'd prefer, I get a little antsy. And I try to pretty things up. I sanitize. I organize. I makeover. I rearrange. I change things. I try to change people, too, I confess. And I even go so far as to try to hide my own uncleanness. So, it's all a little overwhelming for me to go out there and get dirty and get to being like Jesus. It weirds me out--a lot. But shouldn't it be a little bit uncomfortable to share the Gospel? Shouldn't we get sort-of nervous about doing the work--and even greater work--than the Son of God? It sounds like if I am ever going to be a part of the Kingdom, my germ-o-phobia, and my being-like-Jesus-phobia have got to go.

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