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Fix Me

I shared with you last week that I was in Atlanta for a conference. It was a very good conference, and I enjoyed the blessing of meeting fellow Episcopal clergy colleagues that I haven’t seen in a while. I also got the chance to learn a lot about the post-pandemic life of the church. As part of the conference, there was a special service: A Festival of Sacred Songs at All Saints Episcopal Church.

One of the songs that were performed by a lead singer of a Jazz Band was an African-American Spiritual - Fix me, Jesus.

Fix me for this world you have made.

Fix me, Jesus, fix me.

Fix me for this life you saved.

Fix me, Jesus, fix me.

Fix me for the pilgrim’s road

Fix me, Jesus, fix me.

Fix me for the journey home.

Fix me, Jesus, fix me.

The song was sung in such a beautiful way that you could feel a pin drop in the sanctuary. It was so moving, so emotional that it really got me. I could feel the deep yearn within me-fix me. I could feel the underlying cry-fix me. I could feel my personal desire to be fixed-fix me, Jesus, fix me.

Remember the cliché “If ain’t broke, don’t fix?” Well, that cliché seems so empty and meaningless, especially when you take into account your brokenness and mine if you take into consideration our society’s brokenness and the brokenness of our world.

Over the past several days the world has witnessed with horror the sorry ego of a broken man whose sole desire is the domination of a weaker neighbor through violence. His attitude reminds me of the neighborhood bully who felt so insecure in himself that the only way he could garner any respect was to make others feel his sense of weakness. Like many of you, I am shocked at the horror that the people of Ukraine have to endure. Why would someone put so many lives at risk? And for what purpose?

A few days ago, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Nations read a screenshot of a text message exchange between a Russian soldier and his mother:

Mother: why has it been so long since you responded? Are you really enjoying training exercises?

Son: Mama, I am no longer in Crimea. I am not in training sessions.

Mother: Where are you then? Papa is asking if I can send you a parcel.

Son: What kind of a parcel can you send me, mama?

Mother: What are you talking about? What happened?

Son: Mama, I am in Ukraine. There is a real war waging here. I am afraid. We are bombing all of the cities together. Even targeting civilians. We were told that they would welcome us and they are falling under our armored vehicles, throwing themselves under our vehicles and not allowing us to pass. They call us fascist. Mama, this is so hard.

According to the Ambassador, this was several moments before this young soldier was killed. You and I know that this young soldier had a whole life ahead of him. But that life has been wasted over a needless war. And now a mother and father have to grieve for the rest of their lives over the death of a son who wouldn’t text mama again.

What you and I must recognize is that what the president of Russia is doing is symbolic of our own brokenness, and we all need a fix, we need Jesus to fix you and me for this world.

Here’s another example of our brokenness. A chapter leader of the Proud Boys who in the company of other people were shouting racial slurs outside a bar. An African American lady-Ms. Morgan, who happened to have heard them responded “You can’t say that. That’s not okay.” Mr. Walls confronts Ms. Morgan, repeats the slur, and sucker-punches her. When she got up, she with her friends, engaged Mr. Walls in a fight.

I do not claim to know Mr. Walls’ reason for the racial slurs or the sucker-punching of Ms. Morgan. But the effects of his actions aren’t lost on me either. He also is as broken as I am and needs some fixing.

I have similar tendencies to Mr. Walls and Mr. Putin. I am as broken a man as Putin and Walls, and so are you. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” Paul said. And so, for me, the issue is not the act themselves or the behavior of these people or my own behavior, those are symptoms of a much bigger problem. The real issue is you, me, Walls, and Putin, and how we deal with our brokenness.

The reality is that one cannot necessarily fix a behavior without fixing a person. In many ways, it is not a behavior that we necessarily fix, we fix a person. And when a person is fixed, it shows in his/her behavior. Fix me, Jesus. Fix me.

For a very good reason, Lent is that time of year when our brokenness is laid bare before us. Lent is that time of year when we are made acutely aware that we cannot be God, but we can be like God by being more human. Lent is that time of year when we get the sense that we are fallible. It is that time of year when we touch our mortality-that we are but dust and that there’s a beginning and an end to the human narrative. And that it is only by the grace and mercy of God that life is often more beautiful, tolerable, and worthwhile.

The good news is that our brokenness is not meant for us to despise ourselves. Rather, it is an opportunity for us to cry out fix me, Jesus, fix me. More than that, it is for us to take the necessary steps toward being fixed.

What do you need fixing this Lent? Fix me, Jesus. Fix me.



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