I am reading Leonard Sweet’s book, “Viral” for my D.Min class at Drew University. While I was reading it I was struck by a phrase he uses. Sweet writes that “Jesus went into gutters, not to throw mud and bile, but to apply salve and bring salvation.”
I love that imagery, the image of Jesus in the streets with the homeless, drug addicts, and other “undesirables”. We in the church often find ourselves in the gutter as well. However, it appears to me as if when we are in the gutter we are often slinging mud at each other.
What if the church took the command of Jesus seriously, you know the one, “follow me”. I think oftentimes in the church we go boldly into the gutter to “rescue” people and “save” people, however I think somewhere along the line though we lose our way. We look around and see the brokenness and quickly label people. We forget the original purpose of our visit to the gutter and instead start to judge people and oftentimes alienate them even further.
So let’s go back to the gutter with Jesus and this time instead of scorn let’s bring love. Let’s go to where the brokenness is in our community and bring the salve of Jesus’ story. Healing, redemption, and salvation arrives whenever and wherever Jesus arrives.
So back to the gutters we go.