Religion Magazine

The Song of the Cleaner

By Malcolmdrogers
The song of the cleaner
Imagine that you have gone to a concert. The auditorium is huge. The orchestra is huge. The audience is huge. You are expecting to be blown away by a mega sound, the full works. The lights dim.
And then the cleaner walks onto the stage. He’s in his overalls and he’s got a broom. And as he sweeps, he begins to sing: quietly, as if only to himself.
It is embarrassing. He is nobody. People start to cough and fidget; after a while they ignore him and begin to talk to their neighbor. Quite a few start to laugh at him.
But there are some who, despite the noise around them, do try to listen
At Christmas, God turns up in human history. He opens the door of heaven and walks onto the human stage.
But it is not what we are expecting.
We’re looking for the full worksYes, there were signs:The predictions of the prophets that a child would be born in Bethlehem; The star – but it was only noticed by some foreigners; And there were angelic beings – but they only appeared to a few shepherds, who were terrified.
But when God turned up in history, he did not come as the chief executive but as the cleaner.
He was not born in the Matilda Hospital. The Matilda hospital is in Hong Kong and offers a birthing experience for the super-rich and super powerful. You need $20k just as a deposit to book a room.
No, the Son of God was not born in a hospital but a cowshed. He was not laid in a golden crib but in a manger.
He walks onto the stage of his world not as the owner, but as the cleaner.
We thought it was a joke. We laughed at him, we threw stuff at him and then we ignored him.
But there are some who do try to listen to the song that he is singing.  
It is a song that is very simple and astonishingly beautiful. It comes from deep within him and touches something deep within us. It is profoundly disturbing. It makes us look at ourselves – it strips away the bravado and the pretences about ourselves which we have built up and which we have come to believe; it reveals the dirt deep within us, the fears, the hurts that have been done to us and the hurts we have done to others; it shows up our pride and self-centredness; and it exposes our vulnerability and utter brokenness.But it is a song that also speaks of hope: that we are not alone, abandoned or rejected; that God created us in love to have a relationship of intimacy with us; that even though we have rejected him, he desires that relationship so much that he came to earth, embraced us and our muck – and he took it onto himself and dealt with it; it speaks of how there is forgiveness, that God can come and live in us, of the possibility of new birth, of our true identity as children of God, of change, of life. It is a song that plunges us into the abyss of the awfulness of separation and abandonment and death, but then shows us the light that is greater than death.
My prayer for each of us this Christmas is that we will listen to the song of the cleaner, and that as we will allow that song to come and live in us we will know deep peace.
And then, when nobody is expecting it, the cleaner will take off his overall, and he will take up the baton, and the orchestra will pick up the tune that he has been singing, and those in the audience who have listened to the song and received the song will join in the hymn of praise to the God who loves us, who gave us his Son and who is worthy of all glory and honor and power. 

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