Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny that Jesus is the Christ. In fact, this is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think.
I deny that Jesus is the Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed.
I deny that Jesus is the Christ each day that I turn my back on the poor.
I deny that Jesus is the Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden.
I deny that Jesus is the Christ when I lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.
However, there are also moments when I affirm that Jesus is the Christ, few and far between as they are.
I affirm that Jesus is the Christ when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees.
I affirm that Jesus is the Christ when I advocate for those who have no voice.
I affirm that Jesus is the Christ when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.
I, like Peter, am altogether inconsistent. I am much more accurately described as a circus act than a disciple. Yet the accusation brought upon Jesus, that I am most thankful for, is that he eats and drinks with sinners…circus acts like me. He has a tendency to show up in the unlikeliest places. In fact, if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t have any good stories of me pursuing God…but I have lots of stories of God’s goodness and mercy tailgating me.
Put differently, I’ve rarely, if ever, encountered God’s grace because I pursued it. For me, God’s grace has been more like a minefield that I always seem to step in despite my best attempts to avoid it. It is there, in the subsequent explosions of my mess, that I have discovered that God’s grace and mercy are present, even in the fall. I’ve discovered that God is faithful in spite of my own unfaithfulness, or as my friend, Ken, put it…
I am reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:
18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been ‘Yes and No.’ 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’
I am thankful for a God who whose “yes” overcomes my “no” time and time again, a God who eats and drinks with sinners, a God who remains a guest at my dinner table even when I don’t want company, and is quick to pour a glass of wine with the subtle reminder that, “This is my blood poured out for you.”
This Emmanuel who is with us…all of us…is guilty by association.
I am thankful for a #GuiltyGod.