Last night, for the very first time in seven years, I participated in NorthHaven’s End-of-the-Summer Muck Fest. If you are unfamiliar with Muck Fest, let me explain. Add a barrel full of over-hyper children, sprinkle a few youth into the mix, and include a dash of very immature adults to a recipe of ketchup, mustard, syrup, barbecue sauce, and lard. Yes, lard! Then, blow a whistle and let the mayhem begin.
Sound like fun? No. Sound gross? Absolutely. Ask a bunch of stinky children after a giant food war and they will tell you it was the greatest thing ever! There is nothing better than running around outside squirting your best buddy or a perfect stranger with a huge blob of ketchup or mustard. It is a messy, fantastic, gross, and beautiful event.
Muck Fest can be a lot like life. Have you ever felt like you are on the Muck Fest field, dodging all the nastiness flinging through the air? Have you ever felt like throwing a big ole’ blob of something at a family member, co-worker, or that guy that cut you off this morning in traffic? Honestly, we have all felt like that at sometime or another. Life can be messy!
But in all the messiness of life, both what we take and dish out, there are moments when friends pat each other on the back, laugh hysterically at what just happened, and wait patiently to wash away the messiness of life. Just as the ketchup, mustard, and lard (took a bit more scrubbing) eventually came clean, we too are offered a way for the guilt, pain, anger, envy, and jealously to be rinsed out of our lives.
The Psalmist was right when he wrote, “Even though I live on the Muck Fest field, even though I have ketchup on my face, even though I have mustard in my ears, and even though I have lard between my toes; if you wash me, I will be whiter than snow” (51:7, Randall Translation). Life is messy, but we worship and follow a God who can rinse the messiness away.