This week it happened. A willing team of (mainly men!) from church cleaned Bankside space. The fridge can now be opened without a full-scale evacuation of the place. In fact I think we may even be able to use it. Presumably that's what it was created for, to be used.
You see, prior to this point it stayed shut. Inside was a festering black bowl of — well, as a biologist by training, I would guess they once were lemons. Many half drunk experiments lurked in there labelled 'tomato juice', or j2o. J2o may stand for many things, but Joy 2 Open was not one of them. My wholehearted thanks go out to Paul, who spent three hours mucking and chucking, as my granny used to call such jobs.
We met another man on Sunday who specialised in cleaning things out. Jesus, in Mark chapter 2, was on a mission to expose the thoughts hidden deep in the hearts of the religious establishment of his day.
First he provokes the religious leaders by not only healing a paralytic, but also forgiving the man of his sin. "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" they rightly complain. In their eyes, Jesus had committed blasphemy and deserved to be stoned. They never stopped to consider whether he could actually be God himself.
To make matters worse, Jesus then calls the notorious sinner, Levi, to be one of his disciples, and has the gall to eat at the man’s house. "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" the religious leaders want to know. Jesus has really upset the apple cart now.
But in a way, the religious people were right. God cannot eat with sinners any more than we can eat food from a fridge with hazardous waste inside. But that’s why Jesus came to clean out our sin. He makes us acceptable at God’s table.
Jesus tells the religious leaders he didn’t come to call the righteous (those right with God), but the sinners. For those who are well don’t need a doctor. Those who are sick do.
In healing — and forgiving — the paralyzed man, Jesus proves he has the power to transform. Not just rotten fridges and legs, but rotten hearts as well. Will we allow Jesus to clean out our hearts? Then we can enjoy the relationship with God we were created for.