Maybe my standards are slipping, or maybe that’s just what happens when life gets busy, but I am nowhere near as tidy as I used to be. I’m telling myself this morning that this OK, that there are other things that are more important than sorting through the accumulated stuff on the kitchen table.
I’m backed up in this by Psalm 84 which describes ‘God’s house’ which is majestic and beautiful in every way also as a place where ‘birds find nooks and crannies… and sparrows and swallows make nests’ laying eggs and raising young, ‘singing their songs in the place where we worship.’ Nice in some ways, but what a mess!
I can understand how some people really value order and organisation (and I’m a little bit jealous, really) but I have a sneaking suspicion that God’s not as much of a fan of neat and tidy as we sometimes think. Mike Pilavachi is known for saying ‘it’s messy in the nursery, and neat and tidy in the graveyard’. If things are messy, maybe there are potential signs of life.
As adults, we get used to presenting a sorted-out front, with a neatly crafted ‘Linked in’ profile and a shiny car (or house. It is a matter of contention here whether a clean car or house is more important).
One of the things that I love about young people is that categories are sometimes more blurred; different bits of life leak into one another more obviously. Because, maybe, life feels messier to them in the first place, they are more open to explore, reflect and ponder.
I was in Whitby at the weekend with a fantastic group of young people, where we spent an hour on the beach one morning. We went off on our own with a Psalm, some questions and a sand-drawn labyrinth. That was it. And yet I sensed that God met each of us there in the mess of wet sand, dog-walkers and seaweed.
It might be a stretch, but I too want to see more of God in the mess.