Love is Messy

Dearly Beloved,

Blessings to you on this Wednesday of Holy Week. Most of my thoughts have been focused on Maundy Thursday, which we will celebrate tomorrow at First United Presbyterian Church. On Maundy Thursday, we remember Jesus gathering with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. On that night, before breaking bread with his friends, Jesus also washed their feet.

In one of her poems, Rev. Sarah Speed (of A Sanctified Art) invites us to see the water marks on the floor around that foot-washing basin as signs of love -- Jesus' love for his disciples and their willingness to receive his love. Surely if those water marks are a sign of love given and received, then so is that basin of water. And it would have been filthy. After all, the disciples' wore sandals and walked many miles of dusty roads. 

What a powerful reminder that love is messy. When we seek to love others, we are bound to disappoint and be disappointed; to misunderstand and be misunderstood; to hurt each other. This week, I've come face to face with the messiness of love -- places where my own attempts to love well have fallen short. Where my words and actions, my silence and inaction have hurt people I love. I want to say that sometimes love is messy business, but isn't it always? 

So let us dwell in this story of foot washing that leaves a dirty basin in its wake -- a sign of love given and received. Let us hold the good news that holiness, that God, comes to us in the messy work of relationship and community. Let us be encouraged to come to God exactly as we are -- offering our road-worn, dusty, calloused, dirty (maybe even smelly!) feet for Christ to hold. God is with us.

And maybe, just maybe we can trust that the messiness, the basin of dirty water, the broken loaf of bread, the cup that everyone's drunk out of, the cross -- a horrific tool of torture and death --, and the empty tomb are signs that there is nowhere we can go that God does not go with us.

With humble hope and love,