On Friday night I entered our Parish Hall and it smelled particularly clean and looked beautifully tidy in the kitchen. I was thankful for those who had done a spring overhaul earlier that day.

The Hall was VERY tidy ~ as I carried in two big cans of shaving cream that the Youth Group would be creating a tower with and two big bags of Cheesies that would be thrown at the aforementioned tower one by one.

Everything I had planned for the evening was going to be the opposite of tidy ~ it was going to be messy!

Tidy is nice but messy is simply part of our lives. Messy is part of our faith journey. Messy is part of the scripture stories that we hear today:

…when Jesus asks for a colt that has never been ridden

…when they throw dirty blankets

…when he enters Jerusalem and people throw palms on the ground

…that the crowd was huge and uncontained

…that Judas arrives and betrays Jesus

…The grabbing of Jesus

…The walk towards Pilate

…The exchange of words

…The sound of ‘Crucify Him’

…The making of a crown of thorns

…The throwing of the robe on his back and then the stripping

…The blood from his skin

…The weight of a cross

…The amount of tears

…The length of the death

…The chaos in the minds of the disciples

All of it would have been messy

Nothing was clean and pristine… no more clean and pristine then the dirty barn in which Jesus was brought in to this world.

All of it would have been messy

We try and clean up these stories and try to avoid the sights, sounds, thoughts, tastes, and smells of all of this mess that followed Jesus from his birth to his death.

But isn’t that our human nature?

We want to sweep it away, get over the mess, and get to other side.

We want to enter a clean room and smell the cleaning products and declare that all is right in the world.

And yet we are forced to spend a lot of time in the mess…

The mess of our day-to-day lives…

of illness and grief

of unknown and concern

of divorce, parenting, job loss

of depression and fear

 The mess of our church life…

of trying to figure out the future

the mess of a world that doesn’t go to church

of figuring out our finances,

of figuring out what our faith means to us and the world around us

Nothing is clean and pristine in our lives… no more clean and pristine then the dirty barn in which Jesus was brought in to this world. No more clean and pristine the sights and smells and chaos of the Holy Week journey.

All of it is messy

And maybe we would like to run – run like that one disciple who followed Jesus in our passage today for a brief moment until he was so eager to get away from the mess that even being naked would not stop him from taking off as quick as he could.

When the mess seems to overcome our lives and our community even running naked might seem a good idea.

When the mess of the Palms and Passion of Holy Week are painful and hard to handle running right to Easter Sunday might seem like a really good idea.

All of it is messy

On Friday night the shaving cream expanded and expanded and the Cheesies were flying all over the place. Apparently when a mess like this presents itself to youth it is far too tempting to not enter in to it fully! It was not long before hands were covered to elbow with a fantastic mixture of shaving cream and Cheesies.

The mess was where the life was.

The mess is where the life is.

We are, very literally, made of the mess. That beautiful pile of dirt that God looked at, grabbed with both hands and said; ‘I will create humans from the mess of this dirt.

And the messes in our lives make us.

The mess of Holy Week is something you are called to be part of ~ this sad, chaotic, uncomfortable week ~ because to run past it, to run naked and far from Jesus is to miss out on honouring just how integral the mess really is.

Because mess is important, it is life building, it is life giving… it is hard, it is difficult, it is demanding.

But the other side of it (and there is always the other side) will be far more blessed when you can look back and see that Jesus was there – covered up to his elbows just as much as you were.