The roadside sign was in front of a small, white, clapboard church. It was a roughly sketched out image of Jesus, with blood droplets coming from the crown of thorns and his hands. The droplets were in vivid red, although somewhat faded with age. And beneath the image the caption read “This bloods for you.” Even for someone who has seen their fair share of blood, it was a little grim. And this particular sign was a bit creepy, almost as if you were being invited into a “zombie demonination” church. And, of course, for someone of my age, the apparent knockoff of an old beer slogan was obvious.
I am not one of those theologians that struggles with the “blood” issues. I grew up in a Southern Baptist congregation where we sang all the old “blood” hymns; “Nothing but the blood of Jesus,” “There is power in the blood,” “Are you washed in the blood?” and a personal favorite “
When I survey the wondrous cross.” I understand the atonement theology carried over from the Old Testament, particularly the difficult book of Leviticus. But I am aware that our over zealous “blood” dwelling could be a little off-putting to someone not familiar with it. So I don’t often lead with the “washed in the blood of the lamb” strategy, because it seems so foreign, almost unattractive to those outside the church.
We are called to be set apart, unique persons charged with Loving God and loving our neighbor. Part of that charge, at least in my understanding, is that I share the love that has been graced to me with others that are not aware of it. And I find that so much easier to do by loving them rather than scaring them, although as I said, I grew up Southern Baptist. I have done my fair share of scaring people into God’s love.
So I guess the issue raised by this sign was How are you as a child of God advertised to the world as it passes by? How do people see you? Are people afraid of approaching you because your God stuff seems a bit creepy? Do people wonder, in a good way, what’s up with you? For me, the thin place is the love of God shining through me onto others.