I underwent septoplasty this past week to repair my deviated septum. As I am sitting here typing this article, I have wads of cotton deep inside my nose and a plastic stint in each nostril to keep everything in place. There is a fancy black string tied to something (perhaps the cotton things?) that hangs down from each of my nostrils and is tied in a pretty, little knot right beneath my nose. The inside of my nose is caked in dried blood, swollen and sore. It is unclear whether I was born with a deformed septum, or whether my septum deformity was caused by one or more bonks on my nose. The funniest of which occurred when I worked at Target and ran nose-first into a pole. Hopefully, this procedure makes it easier for me to breathe out of my nose in the future.
And while I am grateful for the medical services accessible in our country, and am thankful for all the technology, training and advances in medical science that have been made, I am reminded that the church is supposed to be just as accessible to the spiritually sick, injured, deformed and diseased. Sometimes, I worry that we are not. I worry that the accusation Jesus leveled against the Pharisees in Matthew 9:9-13 may be leveled against us in the church today. As a church I think the greatest gift we can give to the world is Jesus. Not the polite Jesus who dresses up on Sunday—but the one that sat at a dinner table with tax collectors and sinners. Where the jokes were off-color, and the comments were sometimes crude. Where people committed adultery, where they cheated others out of property, where they did those things that make us question whether they should be cast out of the church. Jesus wasn’t permissive in regards to sin, He just didn’t require a behavior change before asking the sinner to come on in. While the medical model of today is not perfect, we could use some of its strengths to help the spiritually ill. Being a place for elective procedures such as mine and a place for the soul threatening injury or disease is what I think Jesus had in mind when He said, “I have come to call the sick.”