A couple of weeks ago there was a report claiming that there was more poo in the average man’s beard than in a toilet. I can just imagine shopkeepers rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a spike in shaving items as hipsters rush out to rid themselves of their dirty facial hair. The report was later rebuffed showing that beards had no more bacteria than any other body part. I don’t really have a beard, just a spikey scruff testifying to the fact that I haven’t shaved in about a week. Though it may not be an obvious link this story made me consider what it means to be a Christian.
Poo itself is not overly mentioned in the Bible and certainly not linking it to beards. This probably is not a huge surprise, but it does talk about things that are unclean. Perhaps the closest image the Bible uses is when clothes become dirty. It might surprise you but clothes are used in the Bible as an image of salvation. Particularly in Revelation there is the repeated image of Jesus’ followers receiving white robes. This typifies what occurred when Jesus ascended to heaven dressed in white. It also gathers the idea of Isaiah when he writes that God will cleanse the scarlet of our sins to white (Is. 1:18) and David’s need for cleansing (Ps. 51). The colour scarlet is basically the equivalent to being covered in poo.
The problem with being covered in poo is that you can try to clean it up a bit but it still smells. The same is true for Christianity. No matter how much we try to clean ourselves up we can’t get rid of the stain of sin. David is right when he writes of the need for God’s cleansing. Unlike our best efforts of cleaning ourselves up, it is only God who can truly make us clean. If sin stains us scarlet, Jesus offers us new white clothes. The question for all of us is how clean are you? Have you come to accept the cleansing of God? I know I have.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t have any poo in my beard.