Presenting the Unpresentable

Most of us like to look presentable. Before we leave the house, we wash our face, brush our teeth and fix our hair.  If visitors are coming over, we make sure the place is picked up and looking decent.  We do not like people to see us if we if we are sick or after we have been crying.  If someone we know unexpectedly appears in the market and we look like a mess, we quickly turn and go in the opposite direction hoping we will not be noticed.

There is a Gospel story about a man who was suffering from the terrible disease of leprosy (Mark 1:40-45). His physical appearance was very unattractive, yet he did not let that stop him from approaching Jesus.  He humbly knelt before Jesus and asked him to make him clean.  The Gospel says that Jesus was “moved with pity” and he cured the man.

The man with leprosy did what many of us do not do, he approached Jesus when he was not presentable. Somehow we think that God will take us only if our house is clean or our clothes are right.  Maybe you know the person who tidies up the house so it is presentable to the person coming to clean.  How many of us vigorously brush our teeth before going to the dentist to get them cleaned?  At times we do the same thing with God, thinking that we need to clean up our lives before inviting God in.

Jesus does some of his best work when we are at our worst. His healing hand is not waiting for us to get better, it is there to make us better.  His loving care is not withheld until we are able to love in return, it is there helping us to love.  His forgiveness is not postponed until we are sure we will not sin again, it is given so that we can get a fresh start.  His strength is not depending on us to get strong, it is there to help us be strong.

If guests are coming it is alright to clean the house.  If we are going out, it is fine to make ourselves look presentable.  Even so, Jesus is not interested in presentable people. He is waiting to do some of his best work with our sometimes unpresentable selves.