A Beautiful Mess

This post is part of the October Synchroblog “Down We Go”.  This month’s theme explores the idea of Jesus calling us to go down into the low and messy places of life–intersecting with the lepers, the lonely, the outcasts, the marginalized – to live a life of humility, love, and interdependence.

There is a lot of talk these days about Christians getting their hands dirty – about how followers of Christ need to be willing to get down into the mess of life.  This kind of talk scares off some people as they begin to try and imagine what that means and what it would require.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t require that people take the drastic measures they usually imagine.

If you want to join in the mess of life just become a part of a community.

Yes, you heard me right.

I know a lot of people think that being involved in a community is one of the easier things that a follower of Christ has to do.

But the reality is that community is hard – community is messy.

Community is messy because people are messy.

Different opinions, different perspectives of right and wrong, different understandings of scripture, different ideas about how to do things, different backgrounds, different histories, different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities, different desires, different passions, different talents, different interests … I could go on but you get the idea.

All of our differences are what makes community so hard and messy.

But it is among the messiness and the challenges and the difficulties that we learn how to be like Christ.

The way to learn how to become like Jesus is to love. The only way we can learn how to love is to practice it in close relationship, and have our lives rub up against each other, including doing so with people who are different from us. Loving people just like us is not that difficult. Loving people who never change, who bug the hell out of us, who aren’t kind or thankful, who don’t pass on grace even though they’ve received heaps of it—that requires much more work. In other words, love is best practiced in the spaces that require it. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus challenges us to—to live into the spaces that only come through a path of descent?”    Kathy Escobar from “Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus”

Someone might wonder why in the world anyone would ever want to be a part of something so horrible as community.

Maybe it is because the sharing of life – the accomplishments, the milestones, the aha moments, the discoveries, the ideas, the experiences are all so much more meaningful and exhilarating and worthwhile when they are shared within a community.  The failures, the difficulties, the losses, the set-backs, the disappointments, the losses, the injustices, the wrongs of life are all so much more bearable when endured within a community.

The thing about community is that it is like washing down a bitter pill with a very sweet and delectable nectar … even though community is hard and messy, it is a beautiful mess.

For more on this idea pick up Kathy Escobar’s book “Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus” and check out the other posts for this month’s synchroblog by following the links listed here:

25 thoughts on “A Beautiful Mess

  1. Pingback: October Synchroblog – Links to Enjoy « Godspace

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  3. Leah Randall

    He’s speaking straight to my heart from your heart, Liz! Messy. Somehow, I get the impression you would be willing to come alongside me, in all my “jacked up” messiness and just “be there”. “Community” is where we have to go in order to be transformed and built together into His temple. Let’s lay the uncut stones of our messiness side by side and build an altar of praise! We serve a Lord who inspired a Samaritan woman to overcome her outcast status and RUN to tell her community about Him.

    1. Liz

      Leah – To tell the truth when I think about coming alongside messiness I get all nervous inside but the wonderful thing about community is that you end up doing stuff like that without thinking about it. In community shit happens :>)

  4. jeremyers1

    Great point. And not a community where everyone agrees with each other or else you cannot belong to the community, but a community that is open and welcoming to all. Then there will be the beautiful mess of community.

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  6. Pingback: October Synchroblog – Link Compilation « synchroblog

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  8. Ted Seeber

    Every time I hear about a Catholic who no longer finds Christ in the Eucharist- I tell them next time they go to mass, sit next to the person who is alone in the pew.

  9. disciplegideon

    So true…maybe the bumping and scraping between people actually polishes each of us. Puts new meaning into what is necessary to be part of the “body of Christ”. Loved your post!


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