Messy Love


I was never a great one for preserving stuff for Sunday best. If I bought something new , I didn’t want to wait until Sunday to wear it; I wanted to wear it leaving the shop. I think my mother despaired of me a lot of the time cos she felt I’d no respect for my stuff; or myself. As a child I often had to be told to go back upstairs to clean my nails again and when I was a teen dressed in sloppy black clothes and equally sloppy make up, she just used to sigh and shake her head. I’d wear raggedy old jeans with my brand new top and she’d say, “would you not keep that top for something special?!” It never occurred to me…

I can do posh if I HAVE to!
I can do posh
if I HAVE to!

Good things had to be kept for good days. The ‘Sunday best’ concept comes from the same idea. In days when people spent their days up to their eyeballs in coal dust, farmland muck and terry towling nappies to wash, many people only had one set of ‘good’ clothes and they were for Sunday; when no one ‘worked’ and most folk went to church.

Another thing that used to drive my mam mad was when I wore ‘good’ clothes to do messy work. If I was forced to clean the car, help in the garden, tidy my room or even wash the dishes (none of these things were ever done willingly), her first comment was always, “would you not change out of those clothes first?!” So not only had I to do stuff I didn’t want to, but I had to do it wearing clothes I didn’t want to wear.
Can you see what a nightmare I was to live with….? (WAS? :D)

And weren’t we all taught not to spoil anything good to clean up a mess? If the washing machine floods all over the floor we don’t run for the new fluffy white towels that we bought last week. We get the old ones that we don’t mind parting with. We don’t get a brand new 100% cotton sheet from the hotpress and put it over the sofa while we paint the ceiling. We go rummaging til we find an old worn one with a hole in it that we were planning to throw out any way.

Photo by Vicky Miti. Used with permissionIt’s Good Friday and Christians around the world use this day to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. There was no way around it, sin had to be atoned for. The Old Testament (OT) shows how God’s creation was spoiled and from that moment He was working out His plan to redeem mankind. The OT is long and complicated in many ways but really it’s the story of a journey. The people of God learning the pure and perfect requirements of  a Holy God and spending most of their time doing the opposite of what they were told to do. All the time God kept sending people to say, “No, not that way… THIS way.”

The message of the prophets was a continual call for repentance. But for the people of God, repenting in their own strength was a bit like using old, raggedy towels trying to clean up the mess. Every time it seemed clean again. There’d be another spillage and another clean up was needed.

Then God did something strange but beautiful. He took the best thing he had and laid it down to clean up the mess. Like a snow-white towel on a filthy wet flooded floor, Jesus took all the mess and dirt upon himself. He was buried in a tomb covered in the manky dross of the world – past, present and future. And as if that wasn’t fantastic enough… three days later he came back out of the tomb and he was snow-white again.

Give it some thought this weekend! I know the world doesn’t look like there’s anything ‘snow white’ at the moment. But I’d urge you to lift your eyes and look up. Look at the Cross. Look at Jesus and consider how God used the best that He had to clean up a mess.
He held nothing back because He loves you.

Did you hear that?

He loves you!

Happy Easter x

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