This past weekend was our second Sunday in our new meeting space for our newly named church, 7SF. Prior to this move we were gathering in the living room of our house to do this church thing, which had it’s pros and cons. First of all the commute to church was right on target, but the moving our couch into our bedroom/storage room each week turned out to be quite the weekly workout. But as I think back to our house and it filling up with people each week one word comes to my mind: Shoes!
Now, this word may not have much if any significance to you but for us here as church planters in San Francisco it does. If you’ve spent any time in San Francisco, or any major city for that matter, you’ll know that by simply taking one step out of the front door onto the street exposes you to all sorts of nasties that land on the bottom of your shoes. I don’t care how clean you think your shoes are or how many suspicious puddles you avoid when you’re walking the streets, if you’re walking outside in SF you’ve got some germy-goodies on the soles of your shoes.
This is where my wife comes in. Knowing this fact about the city all too well, Holly has some strict rules in place that no shoes make it inside our house more than a few inches. You can ask our kids, piano students, and friends alike what the rule is in our house and they’ll all give you the same answer: When you visit the Slater’s you take your dirty shoes off.
There was one exception to this rule though and that was come Sunday the rules changed. When we opened our doors for church, people were not only welcome, but encouraged to keep their shoes on. This was not only practical so people didn’t have to step over 20 pairs of shoes at the front door to get in, but also served as a reminder to me of what the message of Jesus is all about.
Jesus never said,”Get all your junk together and taken care of before coming to me” rather, He said “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” When Jesus was in the upper room with His disciples the night He was betrayed He knelt down and washed their feet and said that it was a necessary thing for Him to do if anyone wanted to belong to Him — “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”.
That’s what made Sunday’s so special. When shoes were worn into our house it reminded me of how we are suppose to come to Jesus, dirt, crap, and all. The underlying message is that we all have sin in our hearts, no matter how clean or good we think we are, and Jesus is the only one who can take that sin away and make us clean. It is then and only then that our feet are truly clean.
Simple, profound, and amazingly true.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)