Mark 2:17 – I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.
Churches have lots of names – First Presbyterian, Third Baptist, Crossroads, Christ Church, and so forth. But I have yet to hear of a church name that better captures the mission of the church better than a Lutheran church in Denver called The House for All Sinners and Saints, or as they simplify it a bit, “House for All.” And, for them, it isn’t just a name but it is truly how they seek to be in community with one another and beyond their walls. What I love about the name is that it identifies a sense of their reality right from the start – don’t come expecting perfect people. Don’t come expect everything to be in order. Don’t come expecting that all will look the same, act the same, or be the same. Come expecting people who are going to be real, vulnerable, aware of their own brokenness and the brokenness of the world, and also people aware of the welcoming and calling of Jesus who came to “call not the righteous but sinners.”
My personality type is one that wants to project that everything is ok, that I have it all together, that I am competent and in fact even more than competent. I can put up pretty thick walls to hide my true self from others (and even myself). But here’s reality. I’m broken. I struggle. I have days that I wonder what the heck I am doing. I have wounds from the past that rear their heads in the present. I have struggled with depression and anxiety in deep ways and know that I have to daily make choices to stay on the path of health and wholeness. But it has taken me a lot of time and a lot of work to even be able to admit all of that. I am deeply grateful that I can see the healing work of God in my life to be able to come to the point I am today.
I love this picture because it is of part of a prayer labyrinth not far from my house. I’ve been to some of these that are pristine – stones perfect, bricks laid out exactly, no weeds, perfectly manicured. But this one is rough. It has weeds like this one that are in the middle of some of the paths. It is a picture of how way of Jesus is often mixed with thorns and weeds both in what we experience in the world but also in ourselves – saint and sinner at the same time.