Last week my girls went to the West Mersea Beach Club. There was a simple type of gunge tank called the rotting pot that they added increasingly gross items to during the week. The ingredients were water (fresh and sea water blend), Mersea mud (and sand and stones), sea weed, spaghetti, Jenny’s special sludge, baked beans and custard.
On the final day Jenny (one of the leaders) was going to have the rotting pot poured over her. The children were counting down from 10 and as the count went from 2 to 1, Rob (Jenny’s husband) shouted STOP. He reminded us that at the Beach Club that they had been learning about Jesus and that one of the things Jesus said is that he is with us always. Rob commented that Jesus is with us even in the rotten times of life. He then knelt down next to Jenny and they had the rotting pot poured over both of them.
This was a really profound moment for me. The fact that Jesus/God is with us always is central to who I am and how I live my life but I had never really thought about him suffering with us when we are struggling. I have thought of Jesus as my support and strength when things are tough but thinking it through since last week it makes sense that he suffers with us because it is painful to be with someone who we love who is in pain. The more we love someone, the more upset we are as we suffer with them. Jesus loves us so much and he is with us sharing our pain.
God is holy and he cannot tolerate sin and yet Jesus is with us always, even when we sin. He is with me in my moments of rottenness feeling pain and sadness for me. Jesus sees the me that I can be and he sees the ways I can be transformed into that person. As I make mistakes and get things wrong Jesus doesn’t turn away or leave me, he is with me despite being allergic to sin. It’s a bit like someone with a severe nut allergy choosing to sit with someone they love as they eat a pack of nuts. They know they are allergic but they love the other person too much to leave them. In this analogy, you would hope that the person eating the nuts would love their allergic friend enough to stop eating. I hope we love Jesus enough to want to try to stop sinning?
Jesus is with us always, trying to guide and lead us away from and through the rottenness of life but will we listen to and be led by him? We seek specialist advice all the time, but imagine going to the doctor and getting a diagnosis and then ignoring it. Jesus, our creator and designer is with us always. He sees and knows everything, so let’s choose to allow him to be our lord in the way he leads us each day as we acknowledge and listen to him.
Thank you so much to the wonderful volunteers who arranged and put on the Mersea Beach Club. My family (and probably lots of others as well) really appreciated you giving up your time to put on such a great club. My prayer for you all, as you hopefully have a more restful week, is that you would know that Jesus is with you and that the things you have looked at in the Bible during the last week would be a real practical help for you as you live your lives each day.
The picture of the rotting pot at the top of this post is not my property, please do not use it without permission from Rob Hughes. Use the contacts page at the West Mersea Free Church website and click on minister to e-mail him.