Love the mess
Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. —1 Corinthians 1:10c NLT
I think of my UCC polity professor at Harvard Divinity School, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth King. In class one day, she shared what is absolutely true to not only clergy in training, but also this whole wide world: love the mess. She encouraged us to embrace the discords and disagreements, the hang-ups and the hard, not so loveable ones who make life a real challenge not for some but for many.
King isn’t looking for resolves here; she is reminding us to embrace the gritty and the grumpy full-on with all the love we have not in ourselves but the love we get when we get out of the way and let Christ work in and through us. Those in Christ are surprised or reassured when out of their mouth comes acceptance not annoyance at a comment that, on the wrong day at the wrong time, would be a dagger to someone’s heart—even your own.
We should love the mess because Christ loves the mess in us. Think about your own bad theology. Consider your wayward thought and that comment that never should have been said, let alone repeated, yet there you were blabbing away thinking not of service to Christ but service to self.
Since God loves your mess, and God does, let God use you to work in and through all the messes around you in the church and in life, especially as it sometimes smacks you or others into really harsh places.
Speaking of great UCC coaches like King, the deeply warm and loving conference minister who ordained me, Rev. Alan Miller, furthers King’s remark. He says, “It’s not so much what we do but how we do it.”
PRAYER: Let’s do it — let’s be of one mind, united in thought and in purpose not ideally, but in each moment. Let’s love the mess and those messy in it (including ourselves) and see what happens with You, our God. Amen.