She stands in the kitchen making supper for her family. But the demons begin to play ping pong in her brain and soon dinner is ruined. She is beside herself. She quickly picks up her children and takes them to the nearest restaurant. Eyes are on them as they walk into the building. The secret is locked deep in the depths of her children’s heart, yet many in this town know this woman’s story. Her name is defiled because of the illness she lives with day in and day out.

A homeless man comes in from the cold asking for assistance. He is given a meal but there isn’t much else they can do. They send him on his way. He stands on the corner asking for more handouts. His name is defiled as people wonder why he doesn’t have a job, a home, etc.

The black man, the transgender couple, the immigrants. Their names are defiled too. Yet Jesus himself was an immigrant born in manger in Bethlehem. And as I remember that fact, I am reminded that we are called to, as my colleague/friend Tuhina states, “rebellious joy.”

What does this rebellious joy look like? How can we stop each other from defiling one another’s names? Jesus himself was defiled as he hung on a cross for our sins, as a crown of thorns was placed on his head, and nails were pierced into his hands and feet.

May we cling to the promises of this holy one who knows what it is like to be humiliated, who comes to turn the world upside down. May we rebuild the holy temple as we share God’s love with the entire world. And believing in this deep promise, no longer will our name, our neighbor’s name and most especially God’s name ever be defiled again.

“For God so loved the world, God gave God’s one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send God’s son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that we may have life through Him.”–John 3:16-17


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