1 Corinthians 2:26-28; 6:11
If this seems a little strange at first, bear with me. I want to begin with one of Shel Silverstein’s poems. It is humorous but leads to a profound concept. It is titled: Hector the Collector.
Hector the Collector
Collected bits of string,
Collected dolls with broken heads
And rusty bells that would not ring.
Pieces out of picture puzzles,
Bent-up nails and ice-cream sticks,
Twists of wires, worn-out tires,
Paper bags and broken bricks.
Old chipped vases, half shoelaces,
Gatlin’ guns that wouldn’t shoot,
Leaky boats that wouldn’t float
And stopped-up horns that wouldn’t toot.
Butter knives that had no handles,
Copper keys that fit no locks,
Rings that were too small for fingers,
Dried-up leaves and patched-up socks.
Worn-out belts that had no buckles,
‘Lectric trains that had no tracks,
Airplane models, broken bottles,
Three-legged chairs and cups with cracks.
Hector the Collector
Loved these things with all his soul –
Loved them more than shining diamonds,
Loved them more than glistenin’ gold.
Hector called to all the people,
“Come and share my treasure trunk!”
And all the silly sightless people
Came and looked . . . and called it junk.
(Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends, p. 46)
Jesus also was a collector, but he collected broken people, people who were marred and scarred by failings of all kinds. Think of some of his disciples. Peter the impetuous, Simon the insurgent Zealot, Matthew the despised tax collector, a woman of the street, and many others whose social, moral, physical, or spiritual lives were broken in some way. But, like Hector, he “loved them more than shining diamonds, loved them more than glisten’ gold.”
The gathering of broken people continued as the church began and expanded. Paul said flatly in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And In Corinth Paul saw a church composed of people whom he described in graphic terms listing sins of a sexual nature, dishonesty, coveting, excessive drinking, and others. He concluded with: “And such were some of you. But you were washed . . . sanctified . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). God sounds like Hector the Collector. God gathered a church full of sinners and made them saints, and the “silly, sightless” world doesn’t understand.
Washed by the blood of Christ we gather at the table as his broken people made whole by the power of Jesus Christ. It is in Him that we find our unity, our oneness, and our shalom. Here we give thanks that he loves us “more than shining diamonds and more than glistenin’ gold.”