Step two

God goes to great lengths to reach us, to love us, to be in relationship with us. There is no doubt of that when one takes a real look at Jesus. And yet, at times he still surprises me with the tools he uses to wake me up and reveal his truth to me in a new way.  Sometimes I chide myself for being surprised. I should know by now that God is just that good, just that creative, just that invested in this relationship. Still, the truth is, God is also supreme, holy, completely Other; so I should be surprised, I should be awed. It should never become common place, elementary or to be expected. When God shows up and uses the mundane, the muck, the modern, to express His eternal truths, I should stand in awe.

The other day we were celebrating communion at our church. This we do by serving one another the cup and praying for each other. I was holding the cup and listening as someone shared their struggle with rote-christianity. I could identify. I had arrived at church with a Martha mindset–a head full of serving Jesus, but no heart to just be with Him. As we bowed our head over the swirling red liquid and began to pray, I was touched and surprised in that holy moment to be reminded of a movie quote from an old 90’s comedy. It’s one of my favorite movies, with tons of quotable lines, but I didn’t expect that any of those lines had any place at the communion table.

In the movie a young, overweight man is rushing to make an important meeting in a high rise in New York City. On the way he’s sweating profusely so he grabs the air-freshener card hanging from the rear view mirror and begins to rub it frantically all over himself. Upon arriving, he enters the elevator and the important executive he is meeting also steps into the elevator. Sniffing the air, the executive looks down at him and says, “Went a little heavy on the pine scented aftershave, there son?” The young man shrugs and says, “It’s taxi cab air-freshener.” At this point the executive sniffs once more and replies, “Good, you’ve pinpointed it; step two is washing it off!”

As I prayed, this exact phrase came to mind! It seemed as though step one–pinpointing our issue–had been granted us by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And step two–washing it off–could only be accomplished by the blood of Jesus, the very gift I was symbolically holding!

I will never think of that quotable line again without applying it to our spiritual condition and knowing that step two is a beautiful gift of God. And I hope I never get tired of being surprised by God!

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