I’ll never forget the day my school celebrated it’s 125thanniversary. There was much excitement because in honour of the occasion we were to be visited by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. (The Queen was patron of our school but I’m guessing she had something else on that day!) In advance of the visit the school went through something of a transformation – flowerbeds were neatly planted, broken windows repaired and the whole place smelt of fresh paint. When the day arrived everyone was smartly dressed in their very best clothes. It seemed to be assumed that in order greet a royal visitor you first had to clean up your act.
Sadly, that’s what many people think God expects of them, and even worse that that’s what he demands. Nothing could be further from the truth. A brief reading of the Gospels reveals that having your life in a mess is no barrier to meeting Jesus. Quite the contrary in fact. Jesus goes out of his way to meet thieves, adulterers, crooks and prostitutes declaring that he’s come to heal the sick and not the healthy. And as for them so too for us – the transformation is the result of meeting Jesus and not the condition for doing so.