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Monday, April 04, 2005

the gospel according to clifford

clifford the big red dog shared the gospel with me this morning. i was watching this favorite cartoon of my son’s while half asleep when something clifford said made my eyes open.

clifford and his friends had been playing in a field where they weren’t supposed to be and had a great time—rolling and frolicking in a patch of stink weed. wanting to avoid taking a bath and more importantly, wanting to avoid getting in trouble for playing where they knew they weren’t supposed to be, they tried numerous ways to wash the stench from their bodies.

but they just couldn’t get clean. suddenly, as if he had received a revelation from god, clifford proclaims to his friends, “i don’t think we are going to be able to clean ourselves.”needless to say, as in all good cartoons trying to teach a moral lesson to our young ones, clifford and his friends got caught and had to face the consequences—a bath.

but clifford’s revelation is quite profound for us.sin is stink weed, my friends, and we can’t get that stench off on our own. the stench of our sin in the nostrils of god is well articulated by agent smith in the matrix, when he describes his disdain for humans:
“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here and it came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you aren’t actually mammals.Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment, but you humans do not.

You move to an area and you multiply. You multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you could survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern…do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet—you’re a plague. And we are the cure.”

Smith removes his earpiece—his link to the other agents.

“Can you hear me Morpheous? I’m going to be honest with you. I haaate this place…this zoo, this prison…this reality…whatever you want to call it, I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell—if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do I feel I may somehow be infected by it. It’s repulsive. Isn’t it? I must get out of here.I must get free.”
smith on one level is right, except human beings are not the disease—we are unique of all god’s creatures, made in his image—but human beings have a disease. a stink called sin. there is hope, just as there was for clifford and his mates. we have one who avoided the stink weed patch and smells like roses to god—jesus.

but notice that there is a catch to the gospel. we have to smell our own stench and see that we have no hope to clean ourselves up.

that is also the beauty of the gospel—we don’t have to clean ourselves up first.

jesus came so that we can be reconciled to god in spite of all our filth. if you are uncertain about how you smell to the almighty, pray that jesus would be revealed to you in all his wonderful fragrance and believe in the one who has promised to present you without spot or blemish before god. let his wonderful aroma cleanse you and fill your every pore, rather than the stench that is keeping you from enjoying him.


At 12:35 PM, April 04, 2005, Blogger Molly said...

What is it with dogs rolling in stinky stuff? I cannot tell you how many baths I give my dogs every summer because they find something smelly in the yard for their (and our) smelling enjoyment. Only they never try to clean themselves up! Now whenever I'm bathing my dogs, I hope I will think of Clifford and his realization that we can't clean ourselves -- and the good news is that we don't have to before we go home to God!


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