My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” James 2:2-3
This is how James 2:2-3 looks for me in Minnesota->
Seriously, my wife and I attend a great church in Minnesota with no 'true' mistreatment of Packer fans. The worship music is worshipful, and the preaching is TRUTH straight from God's word in a manner that is both challenging and easy on the ears. It is a friendly congregation represented by a nice mix of demographics.
It is a GOOD CHURCH!
Next, let me share again I am 6+ years sober after it became apparent I was an alcoholic.
I was a MESS.
I was headed on the wrong road but I thank God for grace found with my family and especially my wife and HIS restoration of my life.
During my recovery time I attended a recovery program for a while and in contrast to my 'good church' where the worship, preaching, and presentation on Sunday's is clean and sharp.. this Celebrate Recovery program was messy.
These were people struggling. Some have been sober for 15+ years, others are celebrating not have a drink for 30 days, or less. Some are people who have been in and out of treatment, and/or suffering the consequences of their addictions by losing their drivers license, jobs, or family. Stories of jail-time, and restraining orders were common. Many were in the place where they were not drinking but now dealing with the void in their lives where once was a buzz. This group is a mess, but .. a Beautiful Mess
What makes this group such a beautiful mess is their journey led to finding God. Not just a 'higher power' but the only true power, the God of our Bibles. This is our only hope for the alcoholic and ALL of the rest of humanity (aka sinners). It's not just us alcoholics who are MESSY. Isaiah 64:6
To be very honest, I don't like a mess or messy people. I like happy Christians with no deep dark secrets and/or sins (at least not shared). I like a well orchestrated church service and an attractive congregation that looks like .. church people should look? I don't know if I want my church to be messy, even if is a beautiful mess.
But my Bible teaches me differently about the mess..
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners (THE MESSY) came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mt 9:10-13
If one part suffers (is messy), every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor 12:26). and again..
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby (messy) clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor (messy) man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” James 2:2-3
So I pray today to be a witness and friend to all I meet. To be welcoming and grace filled in my words and actions with others. And I pray I to be will willing and faithful in serving others even when it gets messy. I pray to embrace this beautiful mess knowing the mess I have been saved from. God is so good even when we are a full blown prodigal mess.
May God bless you, care for you today, and use you to serve Him in this very messy world. I pray for revival and restoration in our chaotic America. I pray His church is sensitive and caring for the beautiful mess inside and outside our church walls while standing firm in His Truth.
Jeff (still a little messy.. but sober) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson