This is something we say quite often around the Early home now that the Big Dark has settled back in here in Seattle. Yes, the sun goes down at 4:45 and it is completely dark by 5pm. Most days the weather will change from dark grey to a lighter grey, then back to dark grey, then fade to black. Our kids don’t seem to mind. They were outside yesterday at 5:30, in the rain, under the Christmas lights strung up in the backyard, kicking a soccer ball for over an hour. They enjoy getting messy and being kids. I like that about them a whole lot.
However, when Jana and I hear the back door slide open and their little laughs bellowing out, we shout from somewhere in the house, “Get a shower and put on some clean clothes!” They’re filthy, and it’ll soon be time for dinner, board games, stories, and bed.
As I visit with the people of our parish throughout the week in restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, or on walks through the neighborhood or around Greenlake, I find myself reminding the sheep of the cleansing and clothing we receive in Christ. The people of Redemption Church are precious people. Imperfect? Of course. But are they sheep Jesus died to save? Absolutely. Every person in our church (pastors included!) struggles with battling temptation to sin and the consequences of living in a fallen world and we long for the second Advent of our Lord Jesus.
One day, the phone won’t ring with someone in tears on the other end. One day, there won’t be a long, quiet walk around the lake, with frigid fingers, scattered thoughts, and deep-seated regrets. One day, there won’t be a late-night-sit-down working to reconcile two people. One day… the Second Advent… one day…when Jesus returns…But what about right now? What do we do with dirtiness before and distance we experience between ourselves and God, as it relates to our sin?
Because the gospel is true, we don’t just hope for cleansing, wish that we could be covered, and dream about being comforted somewhere far off in the distant future.
Lately, I have found myself reminding our people (and certainly myself) “In Christ, you are cleansed, and you are clothed.” In our sin, we see our nakedness and feel shame. Sometimes we feel guilt. Other times we feel a sense of terrible fear before our Holy God. We long to feel cleansed, covered, and comfort. We need good news daily. As the hymn goes…
“I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
– Annie Hawks (1835-1918)
Every hour we need him–and that is precisely what we receive through Jesus. Because the gospel is true, we don’t just hope for cleansing, wish that we could be covered, and dream about being comforted somewhere far off in the distant future. Rather, because Jesus died in our place for our sins, was gloriously resurrected from the grave, we are now justified before God and the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit is now present with us.
In Christ, we are cleansed (1 John 1:9).
In Christ, we are clothed (Gal. 3:26).
In the Holy Spirit, we are Comforted (John 14:26).