Worship Service – June 14, 2020

Our scripture this week comes from Romans 5:1-11


1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


This is the word of God, For the people of God.

Thanks be to God.


To start with I have three questions for you.

1. Do you ever have family TV night?

2. Do you battle for control of the remote?

3. Are there any choices everyone can agree on?


My answer to the second question first. We have two remotes for the TV in our house, but we still seem to battle over one, because the other is always somewhere out of reach.

To answer questions one and three. Seeing that there is only two of us in our house. Bonne and I usually sit down during the evening and stare at the TV together. I will usually be the first there and turn it on in search of something new to watch, which there doesn’t seem much of, and really doesn’t matter because I’ll be asleep in 15 minutes anyway.

Bonne comes in and asks” what you are watching,” then asks,” do you mind if I change the channel?” Then we struggle with finding something both of us are willing to watch.  In a lot of households there is one that crosses all generations. It’s on the Discovery Channel. It is called “Dirty Jobs.” We often can agree on watching it. This surprising hit has host Mike Rowe taking on a new, disgusting, you-never-even-thought-of-doing-that “dirty job” each week. He has cleaned dairy farm floors. He has plucked stinging blood worms out of low tide muck. He has scrubbed out penguin enclosures (above and below the water line) at a zoo. He has waded through muddy swamps in search of gators.

The people who do all these dreadfully “dirty jobs” for a living always seem pleased to show off their skills and introduce Mike to the filthiness unique to their profession.

Kids seem to love “Dirty Jobs” because kids love to get dirty. The grosser, the dirtier, the better.

Parents like to watch “Dirty Jobs” for two reasons. First, you can threaten your kids with “If you don’t do your homework you will end up doing that!” Second, even if you do have a dirty job, the TV versions always look worse. It is heartening to believe that no matter how bad your job is, someone has one that is even worse! With all of that said I decided to call this message…

Gods Dirty Job

There is one thing common to every dirty job: your hands will show it. Dirt, soot, muck, leftovers of all sorts, work their way into the cuticles, delve deep into knuckle ridges, leave fingernails splintered and stained. Being a mechanic for more years, than I like to remember, I can attest to this fact.

Even Bonne a “fair-weather” gardener has “summer hands” vs. “winter hands.” “Summer hands” get tanned, freckled, age-lined, and boast dirty and broken nails from all that transplanting, thinning and weeding, mostly because she forgets to put on her gloves. Here lately

with all the handwashing that’s been going on during this pandemic. I’ve heard more about hands and fingers cracking around the nails that need repair, then I can ever remember.

So, after reading this week’s scripture I started looking and thinking about what Jesus hands must’ve looked like. I did a quick search on how many times hands are mentioned in the Bible. In the KJV they are mention 1,466 times, and there are 56 Bible verses about hands.

Then, I started looking for some pictures of Jesus that showed his hands, His real, everyday hands. I’m discouraged to report that except for portraits emphasizing the post-crucifixion, the holes left by the nails pinning Jesus’ hands to the cross  Jesus’ hands never show any dirt. Whether clasped in prayer or grasped in healing, the artistic renderings of Jesus’ hands are always pristine, without mark or blemish or grime.

It seems unlikely that Jesus’ hands survived to adulthood without some trauma. He worked with Joseph, his earthly father as a stone mason/carpenter, hewing rough materials into workable surfaces. During his earthly life activities Jesus spent a lot of time on boats, fishing with the disciples for supper and for souls. Ever get a good, hard rope burn hauling in a fishing line or hoisting a sail? Burns hurt and burns leave marks. A working man in the first century, like a working man in the twenty-first century, would have calluses, scars, many blackened or missing nails, not to mention dents and divots from a host of old injuries.

Why should Jesus be shown with “dirty job” hands? Because Jesus did the dirtiest job in the history of humanity. Paul gives us the dirt about this dirt in today’s epistle text:(8) “while we still were sinners Christ died for us,” and (10) “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of his Son.” The Incarnation is nothing but a fancy way of saying that God got down and dirty with us, sending Jesus to stand down the stench of sin, embrace our brokenness, and heal the fractured human form.

The hands that were nailed to the cross were cleaning up a mess of our own making.

I never liked that old proverb that promises, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” The gospel proclaims exactly the opposite. The one who was most godly willingly walked into the toxic waste site that was

separating humanity from God’s love. Paul’s words remind us that Jesus didn’t die on the cross for the sake of saving “righteous” or “good” people or people who loved him, appreciated him, welcomed him or worshiped him only.

No, Jesus went to the cross for a world that hated him, spat upon him, tortured him, and killed him. Jesus’ heart was so full of love that he dug his hands deep into the darkest, dirtiest recesses of the human spirit without flinching. And those dirty hands were what brought about a miracle. A reconciled, redeemed, re-created relationship between God and the world.

Look at your hands this morning . . . . when is the last time they got down and dirty?

Max Lucado tells the story of a man, too much like me, who had been most of his life a closet slob. He just couldn’t comprehend the logic of neatness. Why make up a bed if you’re going to sleep in it again tonight? Why put the lid on the toothpaste tube if you’re going to take it off again in the morning? The man admitted to being compulsive about being messy.

Then he got married. His wife was patient. She said she didn’t mind his habits . . . if he didn’t mind sleeping on the couch. Since he did mind, he began to change. He said he enrolled in a twelve-step program for slobs. A physical therapist helped him rediscover the muscles used for hanging up shirts and placing toilet paper on the holder. His nose was reintroduced to the smell of Pine Sol. By the time his in-laws arrived for a visit, he was a new man.

But then came the moment of truth. His wife went out of town for a week. At first, he reverted to the old man. He figured he could be a slob for six days and clean on the seventh. But something strange happened. He could no longer relax with dirty dishes in the sink or towels flung around the bathroom or clothes on the floor or sheets piled up like a mountain on the bed. What happened? Simple. He had been exposed to a higher standard of living. And he became a neat freak. (Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace [2004], 116,117).

What Jesus does for us on the cross is clean us up, not so that we need never get dirty again, but so that we can get down and dirty like he did. In fact, Jesus teaches us how to get dirty.

What kind of life do your hands reflect? Are you holding the world at arm’s length, reaching for a spiritual “wet wipe” after every less- than-perfect encounter? Or are you willing to let the needs of others stain your hands, break your nails, scar your palms? Are you reaching out to the untouched?

Jesus was more than just a “friend of sinners.” (Matt 11:19) He was a HANDS-ON friend of sinners. He took water from the socially suspect Samaritan woman’s hands at the well. He put his hands in spit and dirt and rubbed them into blinded eyes. He used his hands to wipe the sweat and dirt from the feet of his disciples. He reached out his hands and raised up Jairus’ daughter from death. He stretched his hands over roiling waves and brought calm waters. Jesus went among the tombs and pigs.

How many of us are afraid to engage with others — I mean truly engage people different than we are, people needier than we are, people hurting more than we are, people whose whereabouts we don’t know because we are concerned about keeping our hands clean?

I’ve always been mesmerized by “hands.” I think hands are the most alluring part of a human being. At church, at funerals, sitting in a waiting room, I find myself looking at people’s hands. Sometimes I size up their hands even before I’ve looked into their faces. Not sure why, but maybe it’s because hands are the true windows into the soul of the person?

Hands tell the story of one’s life. Especially at funerals, I find myself welling with tears when looking at the hands of the deceased, knowing that though they are now resting and silent, the hands were more active than any other part of the body. We place a high level of importance on the heart and the head in our time. Personally, I believe the hands are where it’s at. The church needs people who can witness with their hands as well as their head and heart. In fact, it’s the hands that bridge and bring the head and heart together.

Here is one request I suspect we will be asked at Judgment Day: “Show me your hands.”

If our hands are clean and dry, rather than wet, stained, and dirty, then we should fear to hear, “Depart from me.” Are we afraid to passionately engage with others because we are concerned about keeping our hands clean? Do we think we are better than God, who got dirty hands when scooping us out of the dust and clay and breathing into us the breath of life? God wants to use your hands to touch the world.

The Incarnation was the greatest “Dirty Job” of all time. Jesus got down and dirty with us. How down and dirty?

All the way down! Down on his hands and knees, when he washed his disciple’s feet, the dirtiest part of the human body in the 1st century, like no rabbi in history had done before. And you do not wash anyone’s feet without getting your hands dirty and wet.

How down and dirty did He go? All the way down!! Down to the pit of hell and death, where Jesus, if we choose, released the power of sin and death over us.

It was a “dirty job.” And only God could do it.

In a world where people clench their fists, open your hands this week. And get ‘em dirty.

In His Service,

Pastor Joe

Listen To Audio: Sermon 20200614

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