Toes Out of Bed: That Holy Moment
When your world touches God’s world, the result is a holy moment. When God’s high hope kisses your earthly hurt, that moment is holy. That moment might happen on a Sunday during Communion or on a Thursday night at the skating rink. It might occur in a cathedral or in a subway, by a burning bush or by a feed trough. When and where don’t matter. “What matters is that holy moments occur. Daily. And I’d like to talk to you about the holiest of those moments—I’d like to talk to you about the holiest moment of your life.
No, not your birth. Not your wedding. Not the birth of a child. I’m talking about the holiest moment of your life. Those other moments are special. They sparkle with reverence. But compared to this moment, they are about as holy as a burp.
I’m talking about the sacred hour.
No, not your baptism or your christening. Not your first Communion or your first confession or even your first date. I know those moments are precious and certainly sacrosanct, but I’ve a different moment in mind.
It happened this morning. Right after you awoke. Right there in your house. Did you miss it? Let me recreate the scene.
The alarm rings. Your wife pokes you or your husband nudges you or your mom or dad shakes you. And you wake up.
You’ve already hit the sleeper button three times; hit it again and you’ll be late. You’ve already asked for five more minutes. . . five different times; ask again and you’ll get water poured on your head.
The hour has come. Daybreak has broken. So, with a groan and a grunt, you throw back the covers and kick a warm foot out into a cold world. It’s followed by a reluctant companion.
You lean up and sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the back of your eyelids. You tell them to open, but they object. You pry them apart with your palms and peek into the room.
(The moment isn’t holy yet, but it’s almost here.)
You stand. At that moment, everything that will hurt during the course of the day hurts. It’s as if the little person in your brain that’s in charge of pain needs to test the circuits before you make it to the bathroom.
“High school football knee injury.”
“Hay fever reaction?”
With the grace of a pregnant elephant, you step toward the bathroom. You wish there is some way to turn on the light slowly, but there isn’t. So you slap on the spotlight, blink as your eyes adjust, and step up to the bathroom sink.
You are approaching the sacred. You may not know it, but you have just stepped on holy tile. You are in the inner sanctum. The burning bush of your world.
The holiest moment of your life is about to occur. Listen. You’ll hear the fluttering of angels’ wings signaling their arrival. Trumpets are poised on heaven’s lips. A cloud of majesty encircles your bare feet. Heaven’s hosts cease all motion as you raise your eyes and…
(Get ready. Here it comes. The holy moment is nigh.)
Cymbals clash. Trumpets echo in sacred halls. Heaven’s children race through the universe scattering flower petals. Stars dance. The universe applauds. Trees sway in choreographed adulation. And well they should, for the child of the King has awakened.
Look in the mirror. Behold the holy one. Don’t turn away. The image of perfection is looking back at you. The holy moment has arrived.
I know what you are thinking. You call that “holy’? You call that “perfect”? You don’t know what I look like at 6:30 A.M.
No, but I can guess. Hair matted. Pajamas or nightgown wrinkled. Chunks of sleep stuck in the corners of your eyes. Belly bulging. Dried out lips. Pudgy eyes. Breath that could stain a wall. A face that could scare a dog.
“Anything but holy,” you say. “Give me an hour and I’ll look holy. Give me some coffee, some makeup. Give me a toothbrush and a hairbrush, and I’ll make this body presentable. A little perfume. . . a splash of cologne. Then take me into the Holy of Holies. Then I’ll make heaven smile.”
Ah, but there’s where you’re wrong. You see, what makes the morning moment so holy is its honesty. What makes the morning mirror hallowed is that you are seeing exactly who God sees.
And who God loves.
No makeup. No pressed shirts. No power ties. No matching shoes. No layers of images. No status jewelry. Just unkempt honesty.
If people love you at 6:30 in the morning, one thing is sure: They love you. They don’t love your title. They don’t love your style. They don’t love your accomplishments. They just love you.
“Love,” wrote one forgiven soul, “covers over a multitude of sins.”1
Sounds like God’s love.
“He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy,” wrote another.2
Underline the word perfect. Note that the word is not better. Not improving. Not on the upswing. God doesn’t improve; he perfects. He doesn’t enhance; he completes. What does the perfect person lack?
Now I realize that there’s a sense in which we’re imperfect. We still err. We still stumble. We still do exactly what we don’t want to do. And that part of us is, according to the verse, “being made holy.”
But when it comes to our position before God, we’re perfect. ‘When he sees each of us, he sees one who has been made perfect through the One who is perfect—Jesus Christ.
“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”3
This morning I “put on” clothing to hide the imperfections I’d rather not display. When you see me, fully clothed, you can’t see my moles, scars, or bumps. Those are hidden.
‘When we choose to be baptized, by lifestyle as much as by symbol, into Christ, the same shielding occurs. Our sins and faults are lost beneath the sheer radiance of his covering. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”4 Please, don’t miss the impact of this verse. ‘When God sees us, he also sees Christ. He sees perfection! Not perfection earned by us, mind you, but perfection paid for by him.
Reflect on these words for a moment: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”5
Now read these words in the Phillips translation: “For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.”
Note the last four words: “the goodness of God.” God’s goodness is your goodness. You are absolute perfection. Flawless. Without defects or mistakes. Unsullied. Unrivaled. Unmarred. Peerless. Virgin pure. Undeserved yet unreserved perfection.
No wonder heaven applauds when you wake up. A masterpiece has stirred.
“Shh,” whisper the stars, “look at the wonder of that child.”
“My!” gasp the angels, “what a prodigy God has created.”
So while you groan, eternity gasps with wonder. As you stumble, angels are star struck. What you see in the mirror as morning disaster is, in reality a morning miracle. Holiness in a bathrobe.
Go ahead and get dressed. Go ahead and put on the rings, shave the whiskers, comb the hair, and cover the moles. Do it for yourself. Do it for the sake of your image. Do it to keep your job. Do it for the benefit of those who have to sit beside you. But don’t do it for God.
He has already seen you as you really are. And in his book, you are perfect.
http://www.upwords.com “When God Sees You” excerpt from The Applause of Heaven. Used by permission.